A while ago, we participated in #ResuChat, a bi-weekly chat hosted by @JackalopeJobs every other Tuesday on Twitter (UPDATE – this chat is no longer running). The Feb. 26 chat discussed different types of interviews; check out the wrap up here.
A question raised during that chat was how to prepare for Skype or phone interviews. We wanted to share a few of those tips, plus a few more, with a focus on some frequently overlooked suggestions:
- Long before your interview, use your camera phone, iPad or webcam to record yourself responding to sample interview questions. Listen for voice clarity, and pay close attention to your body language/movement.
- Make sure the interviewer has your phone number and email address and you have theirs, in case you run into any connection problems.
- Remember to account for time zone differences and day light savings or standard time.
- Make sure your batteries (for your phone, laptop or tablet) are fully charged or stay plugged in during the interview.
- Have at least one backup plan in place in case you get cut off during the interview. For example, if you have a Skype interview scheduled, make sure you have a phone on hand if Skype stops working. Likewise, have a second phone, (perhaps a landline), available if you are scheduled for a phone interview.
- For Skype, add the interviewer’s account in advance of the interview, and give the interviewer your account name, as well.
- Test your camera and audio; do a test run with a friend to ensure they can see and hear you and vice versa.
- Do your test in the same room you intend on using for the actual interview. Pay attention to, and try to eliminate, any extraneous background sounds that your mic might be picking up, such as the hum of a computer, audio feedback, music, or loud roommates. (Although you may occasionally want to literally eliminate loud roommates, perhaps giving them a gift card to your local coffee spot may be a friendlier strategy, but we’ll leave those details to you.)
- If you’re doing a Skype interview, don’t use a swivel chair.
- Practice NOT staring at your thumbnail during the practice interview, and instead, look into the camera.
- Test your lighting; preferably the light should be shining on you, rather than behind you.
- Try to sit in front of a simple background, such as a plain wall. Ideally, the background will not be distracting for the interviewer.