Monday, September 8, 2014

Phone & Video Interview Tips

After you've utilized my tips and secured yourself an interview, how do you prepare? While most of my pointers tend to be company and interviewer specific when working with candidates, I do have some basic pointers that can be of use no matter the position you are interviewing for. 

Phone Interview
In today's busy world, most companies prefer a phone interview (or few) before bringing a candidate in to interview in person. Below, are a few of my standard pointers to ace any phone interview. 

Location. Take the call in a quiet spot. You want the interviewer to focus their attention on you and not the background noise such as cars on the highway, babies crying, Gossip Girl on Netflix, or your dog parking at the squirrels in the yard. 

Research. Do your research ahead of time. Look up the company's website, articles recently published about the company, and current employees on LinkedIn. If you're savvy, have some browsers open on the internet so you can reference the research during your interview. 

The Job. Know the job you're interviewing for. Read the job description thoroughly and makes notes of your experiences that are parallel. Ask intelligent questions that let the interviewer know that you understand the job. Asking about a the salary is not a meaningful questions during initial interviews. 

The Interviewer. Know who you will be speaking with and take the time to research their background on LinkedIn. Maybe you two share the same alma mater, are both members of the Junior League, or supported the same fundraiser last year. Connecting with someone on a more personal level will help you to stand out during the interview process. Also, LinkedIn will send them a notification that you were viewing their profile which is an easy to share your excitement for the position. 

Excitement! The most common feedback I receive following a phone interview, is that a candidate did not seem excited enough about the position or company. Some candidates are naturally like speaking to a Disney Princess on the phone and their excitement radiates through the interviewer. Others, need a little guidance and have to channel their inner cheerleader to make it through this first round. I sometimes suggest drawing a giant happy face on the top of your resume and job description (which you have in front of you) as a friendly reminder to smile. 

Brevity. During an interview in which you know you are qualified for, it can be tempting to want to share a flood of information and document every experience you have that relates to the position with as much detail as possible. While detail is important, keep it concise. For the interviewer, interviewing is often times not their only job and they have countless other things going on at their desk including the incoming of emails and messages from their team. The last thing you want is for your interviewer to start reading emails while you go into great detail about the time you implemented a new program. Keep it short. 

Next Steps. Lastly, it's important to ask about next steps in the interview process. Some think this may be too aggressive and forward but again, it shows that excitement and eagerness for the next step in the process. While I wouldn't come right out and ask for an offer, its OK to let the interviewer that you enjoyed the conversation and look forward to moving forward in the process. 

Video Interview
Most companies will start with a phone interview and then transition to a video interview, especially if you are an out of town candidate. Video interviews are far more affordable than airfare, rental cars, and hotels. While all of the above applies to a video interview as much as a phone interview, there are a few additional pointers for the video. 

Headphones. Often times, video conferences will pick up feedback in the room and hear your voice and the interviewer's echo. Headphones help to eliminate the feedback noise and allow the interviewer to focus on you and your qualifications. 

Dress the Part. At least from the head up, dress professionally as you would in a regular interview. And make sure your background is equally as professional. I wouldn't recommend taking a call from your bed. Rent out a room at your local library if necessary. 

Eye Contact. While it can be tempting to look at the interviewer on the screen, remember to look directly into the camera and make eye contact for that lasting impression. 

Hopefully, you found this helpful! Good luck with your next interview and let me know if you would like additional tips. 




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