Got a phone or a Skype interview? Here are 15 ways to ace it
Do you have a phone or Skype interview coming up? They can be just as nerve-wracking as ‘in-person’ interviews and can present their own selection of challenges. Here are a few tips and tricks to survive a phone interview; before, during and after the call.
What is a phone or Skype interview?
Often, if not everyone who is involved in the recruiting process is available in the same location, a company might suggest that a job candidate conducts and interview by phone. This may be with one person, or multiple people via a conference call. This may also be done using technology such as Skype or Google Hangouts.
How common are phone and Skype interviews?
Phone, Skype or remote interviews are becoming more common. Often the “best person” for the job is not located in the same area as the job itself. With modern technology, this need not be a barrier to employment; often the day-to-day workings of a job can be communicated via email, Skype or other platforms of engagement.
How do they differ from normal interviews?
There are many different techniques you need to employ if you are interviewing for a position via a phone interview. If the call is not occurring via a video platform such as Skype, then you don’t need to worry about presenting well for the interview in terms of appearance, but there are other things you will need to keep in mind.
Before the interview:
It’s imperative to conduct some research before your phone interview. Find out everything you can about the company that’s hiring, the industry, their competitors and even the people interviewing you if possible. Have a “cheat sheet” of information by the phone if you need it.
Prepare yourself for the call. Make sure you have worked out your “Top 5 Selling Points” as they relate to the role you are going for. Have a few pre-prepared anecdotes or stories to tell about the things you have achieved on your career to date.
3. Pen and paper
Have a pen and paper ready by the phone for your phone interview as it will come in handy when you need to take down information. It seems like a simple thing but dashing around your house looking for a working pen at the start of your interview is a sure way to get off to a bad start!
4. Quiet spot
It’s also very important to find a quite spot where you will not be disturbed while taking the call. Make sure your phone is charged or plugged in and you won’t be disturbed for the duration of the call.
5. Glass of water
Don’t forget to keep some water by your side when making or taking a phone call. Often, when we are nervous, our breathing quickens and our throat constricts, making breathing more difficult. Have some water by your side in case you get the dreaded ‘tickle in your throat’.
During the interview
1. Take down names
The first thing you should do at the beginning of the interview is write down the name of the interviewer and everyone else who you are speaking with (for example, if you are on a conference call). If the interviewer neglects to give you their name, do not hesitate to ask – this is essential info.
2. Leave pauses
Often with phone interviews, the interviewer may leave large pauses of silence, sometimes when they are writing notes or conferring with their colleges. The worst thing you can do is to fill the space with mindless chatter. Only answer questions asked to you directly and do not fear long pauses of silence.
3. It’s not up to you to lead
Let the interviewer talk more than you if possible. If appropriate, ask questions about the company, the role and even your interviewer’s position. Be respectful and curious and ask informed questions that you have planned in advance. Never talk over your interviewer, keep your listening ears on.
4. Speak slowly
Often we need to speak more slowly during phone interviews than we do in real life. Phones can have unreliable or crackly connections. Don’t rush through what you have to say, take your time and make sure you enunciate your words clearly. If you don’t understand a question, ask the interviewer to repeat it – don’t fudge your answer!
5. Go through your points
Go through your ‘cheat sheet’ and make sure you have covered off all the points you need to. Have you forgotten to mention your management skills? Did you get the chance to speak about the industry award you achieved last year? There’s no problem with getting in at the end of the call.
After the interview
1. Follow up thank you by email
It’s imperative that you send a thank you email after the interview. Often, it’s good to wait a few hours, or even until the next day, when they may have had some time to think more clearly about the candidates they have seen. Be polite and thank the interviewers for their time.
2. Phone call
If you have had no contact within four days to a week, pick up the phone. It’s perfectly fine to ask how many candidates they have seen, how the standard of the candidates was and when they think they role will be staffed. A follow up call can be a great way to touch base.
3. Ask for feedback
Whether or not you are successful at gaining the role, it can be useful to ask for feedback on how you did. Some companies are better at providing this information than others, but there is no harm in asking. Getting feedback on how you performed can help you perform better in the future.
Good luck with your next phone interview!