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The Rise of Phone and Video Interviews

16th Apr 2020

Interviews are a critical stage of the recruitment process. They are the opportunity for the recruiter to investigate more fully your skills and experience, usually face-to-face. But in the current economic climate we are living in – in addition to the steady developments in modern recruiting – face-to-face interviews are not always possible and alternate mediums are now being used to help screen candidates. Cue - the rise of the phone and video interviews!

Despite the convenience of phone or video interviewing, not everyone is a fan. The format can have its challenges – let’s not talk about the issues of poor connectivity, video calls that drop out of nowhere, or audio that breaks in and out – let alone the uncomfortable nature of sitting in an empty room, talking to someone on screen whom you haven’t previously met, which can feel awkward in itself, even without any technical glitches.

However, with some preparation, these potential issues can be eradicated and help you move on to the next stage of the process. So how should you prepare in order to make the most out of your phone and video interviews? Below, we have put together some tips to help get you started.

Treat video and phone interviews like regular interviews.

Prepare just like you would for an in-person interview, memorising important information without the use of notes, which includes doing your research on the company, role, and the essential criteria the interviewer would like you to possess. With phone interviews you can rely more on having some handwritten notes, but video interviews are just like face-to-face interviews where it will appear obvious when you look down to review your notes and can cause a gap in your focus. For one-way videos where you get the questions in advance, prepare prior to the actual interview so when you go on video, you already know the answers you will be using.  

Practice by making a video or voice recording of yourself answering sample interview questions.

After you do this, listen back or watch yourself answering the questions. This will help you see how you will most likely come across to the interviewer. Make note of any adjustments that need to be made such as - your mannerisms, speed of speech, eye contact, and whether you are sitting too close to the camera. It is worth noting that during video and phone interviews, you typically need to be a little more animated and expressive than you would in person to convey your enthusiasm.

Test all your technology prior to the interview.

Even if you have used your technology setup recently, make sure that everything is in good working order before you start the interview. If you are having a video interview, a few days before the interview you should test the computer, camera and check you can easily sign into any software that you have been asked to use. Make sure the picture is clear and the sound quality is good. It is also worth checking your internet connection. If you are having a phone interview, then make sure you have planned out a quiet location with reliable phone reception and that your phone is fully charged as you don’t want the battery to run down during the call.

Be mindful of the location.

Plan well in advance where you are going to do the interview. Use a quiet location, where you won't be disturbed by noises and people. Make sure the room you choose is tidy and has a clean and simple background if you’re having a video interview, so that the recruiter focuses on you. You need to also think about the lighting so you can be seen properly, either by using natural light from a window or placing a lamp in front of the camera and adjusting the distance to get the best result.

Do not lose sight of the formality of the meeting.

Even though phone or video interviews take place at your home, they are still formal meetings and your opportunity to give a professional first impression. One tip that helps you remain in a more professional mindset is dressing appropriately – you should wear the same outfit you would have chosen for a face-to-face meeting with the employer. In a video interview, think about how your clothes will look on screen and avoid busy patterns and stripes. Also make sure you turn off your phone ringers, shut down any computer notifications that might appear, leave a sign on your front door to not be disturbed, and remove any pets from the same room as you. To help you relax more, make sure you have a glass of water ready by your side and a notebook and pen to jot down any notes if required.

Be yourself.

Do not let technology and poor preparation get in the way of letting your personality shine through. In a face-to-face interview, you would engage in small talk, converse casually, use positive body language throughout and allow the interviewer to get to know you as a person – so don’t let the introduction of phone and video interviews go any less successfully for you!