Telephone and Skype interviews

With candidates for jobs scattered all over the country – even the world – nowadays, telephone and Skype interviews are becoming all the more common. You might think they’d be easier than face-to-face interviews, but in many ways they are not because instead of you entering their environment, they are entering yours. Here is some advice from Career Camel so you know just how to handle them.

Before your interview

You may think that you can just sit there in your pyjamas because you can’t be seen, but refrain from doing this. If you dress the part you’ll instantly feel more professional, and that will likely be communicated through your answers. If you’re on Skype, make sure you clear up the room you’re being interviewed in, so don’t have anything compromising around like empty beer bottles or lots of mess, because it won’t portray you in a good light. Make sure you won’t be interrupted but preferably someone else should be in the house in case the phone or doorbell rings, so they can deal with it rather than you having to be distracted, and remember to charge your phone and computer.

Keep a copy of your CV and cover letter by the phone, as well as the job description and person specification for the job, and you might like to have a page of information about the company ready on your computer to refer back to if necessary. You could even write a basic script of answers to general questions to keep by your phone or computer – but don’t try and sneakily Google something while being interviewed because they will hear you typing! Don’t get up five minutes before the interview either. Wake up in plenty of time to prepare and keep yourself calm: if you sound confused or disorganised you won’t get a second chance. Prepare for a telephone or Skype interview in exactly the same way as you would for a normal interview, like thinking up typical questions (coming up next).

During the interview

If you’re worried about struggling to hear, using a pair of headphones or a headset might be a good idea. Even though they can’t see you, if you remember to smile while on the phone it’ll instantly come through in your voice. At the beginning of the interview it might be a good idea to ask about how it’s going to be structured so you’re not taken by surprise (remember that telephone interviews tend to be more restricted in time than face-to-face ones). Other than that treat it exactly like a normal interview, while keeping in mind that you won’t be able to judge your interviewer’s reactions in the same way as you would be able to in real life. Ask for clarification if necessary and take your time, as well as asking questions like “do you need more detail?” or “do you want to hear about x?” They will be taking notes like in a normal interview, so give them time to do so and be patient. And if you’re on Skype – look at them rather than yourself, otherwise you’ll keep checking your hair and looking vain, and it’ll look like you’re avoiding eye contact!

After the interview

In a similar way to how you’d follow up a face-to-face interview, make sure you’ve got your interviewer’s email address to send them a thank you note and outline key points. Also evaluate how you answered the questions to help you improve for next time, and if you’re rejected, ask for some feedback.

As long as you remain relaxed, you should be invited to attend the next stage. Good luck!