telephone interview

July 22, 2014, by Beth Dawson

Make a Great Connection: Tips for Skype and Telephone Interview Success

In a competitive and global job market, the amount of employers using telephone and Skype interviews in their recruitment processes is increasing. 

They are used as an interview method to reach candidates who are applying from overseas and are a useful way to screen applicants before inviting them to a longer interview in person or an assessment centre. If you’re not familiar with this ever more popular interview type, read our top tips for tackling telephone and Skype interviews. 

Ensure you have a good phone signal and internet connection

There’s no point in having great examples to draw upon and an in depth understanding of the company and position, if the interviewer can’t hear you express it due to a poor phone or internet connection. Likewise, lagging and blurred images can be a barrier to building a rapport with the person on the other end of your Skype conversation.

Before the day of your interview, try running through some questions over the phone or Skype with a friend or family member, to check if they can hear and see you clearly for a sustained amount of time.

Find the perfect place and time

When arranging a Skype or phone interview, an employer may ask you when is a convenient time for you to be interviewed. Think about when you feel you’re at your best.  Do you feel most alert early in the morning?  Do you feel better in the afternoon? Do you have any commitments that would mean that you would have to cut the interview short or may feel added pressure?

You’ll need to find somewhere comfortable and quiet for the interview. Ask your housemates or flatmates to keep the noise down for the time you’re being interviewed and make sure that you’re not going to be interrupted by noise such as nearby traffic. Also, if you’re using a space in your house for a Skype interview, be sure to clean the area of the room that can be seen on webcam, take down any posters that could be deemed inappropriate and make sure any alcohol you may be saving for a celebration of your interview success is out of sight.

Ditch the onesie

Just because you’re in your room doesn’t mean that you can dress as casually as you would if relaxing. If you have a Skype interview an employer will expect you to be smartly dressed, even if it is only the top part of you they see.

For these interviews, unless otherwise specified, it’s useful to dress as you would for a face-to-face interview. The phrase ‘dress smart, think smart’ really does apply: dressing like you’re going to an interview will enable you to get into an interview-ready frame of mind and avoid coming across as too relaxed, which is easy when you’re in familiar surroundings.

Have everything you need in front of you

One of the advantages of phone and Skype interviews is that you can have notes in front of you to jog your memory. Having a few notes about experiences you want to highlight and facts about the company could prove very useful, however don’t be too reliant on them, as you may come across as distracted or unprepared!

Don’t forget to keep a glass of water on your desk, as your tone of voice is particularly important during telephone interviews, where the interviewer has very little else to go off.

Be body language aware

Although an employer can’t see you during a phone interview, your body language can affect your tone of voice and their impression of you.  For example, smiling while talking on the phone will help to make you sound more enthusiastic. In contrast fidgeting, which would make you appear nervous at an interview in person, could be heard and potentially disrupt your conversation.

When having a Skype interview, try not to lean into the computer screen or slump in your chair, as you might when you’re browsing the web. Instead, as you would in a face-to-face interview, sit upright and look at the employer’s eyes in the display. Looking at another webpage or around the room can come across as being disinterested.

Have you got a phone or Skype interview coming up? Watch an insightful 13 minute video which talks you through telephone interviews from an employer’s perspective on our interviews webpage. You can also book an appointment through My Career with one of our team who can help you to develop a winning interview technique, whether it be in person, online or over the phone. 

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