When applying for jobs and internships, often the first round of interviews is via phone or Skype before you’re invited to the office. You also may have two or more rounds of phone or Skype interviews if you are applying for a position in another state as well.
Here are a few tips to make sure you ace the audio and visual interview process:
- Silence your phone. This will make all the difference so no one gets interrupted. Even if your phone is on silent mode, go to your settings and turn your vibrate off.
- Dress up so you still take everything seriously. Although the person won’t be able to see the way you’re dressed, they’ll be able to hear it. Dressing well puts you in the mindset of a professional setting and will translate directly to your composure while on the call.
- Practice some theater-style voice exercises to get warmed up. Especially if it’s first thing in the morning, your voice can sound off. Practice talking at different levels and getting your voice warmed up so you’ll sound your best.
- Be aware of your breathing — it might be louder than you think. Do you want to sound like a serial killer? Your breathing can become a serious distraction, especially if you’re nervous. Be aware of this and even consider adjusting your phone so your mouth is away from the receiving-end of your phone while you’re not talking.
- Write out what you’re going to say or answers to popular questions. No one is going to know if you’re reading off answers — it will help you feel more comfortable answering the questions and giving your elevator pitch.
- Have the résumé and biography of the interviewer in front of you. Prior to the call, you might not spot any tie-ins relevant to your conversation. During the interview, however, a detail might jump off of their bio and give you an opportunity to make a personalized connection that they won’t forget.
- Make sure you are in a quiet area and that there is no noise in the background. Any noise can disturb the call and may leave a sour note if the interviewer is distracted and/or can’t hear you. An office, a closed room, a conference room or even a closet can work for a phone interview.
- Dress up. How would you dress for an in-person interview? Dress the same exact way for a Skype interview. Sure, you might be able to get away with not wearing pants because your legs are out of the picture, but your composure will most definitely be affected. Professional appearance translates into professional behavior.
- Don’t sit with your back to a window. If you sit with your back to a window, your silhouette becomes darker. Sit facing a window and the light will flatter you more and help erase part of the background.
- Eliminate noise in the background and close all your open programs. Do you want your interviewer to suddenly discover your obsession with Austin Mahone? Well then, you should probably be sure to close all of your programs — especially music ones — prior to the interview. Also do your very best to eliminate all other background noises — they’re just plain distracting.
- Don’t sit in a room with a lot of stuff in it. For Skype, if your video is on, your interviewer(s) can see where you are. If the room you’re in is a mess, that may be an indicator of your lack of organization. A professional setting, like an office or conference room, is ideal, but sitting at a table with your back to a solid wall can work as well.
- Keep your body still and consistent. Be aware of your body at all times. Eliminate unnecessary movements before they happen, such as leg jiggling and tapping. These will all negatively impact your interviewer’s experience.
- Be sure to maintain eye contact. It’s easy just to look at yourself in the Skype window, but maintaining eye contact shows you’re engaged. It also shows respect. Do not browse the Web or click around a lot — stay in the Skype window.
- Wait your turn to speak and wait a second or two before speaking. The last thing you want to do is frustrate someone by talking over him or her or cutting them off.
Do you have any other tips for phone and Skype interviews?