Acing the Phone or Video Interview

Many companies conduct preliminary screening interview with a phone or video interview before asking candidates in for an in-person interview. Such calls are real interviews and should be treated as such. (You won’t get a chance to shine in person if you don’t “pass” the screening interview.)

In addition, because many jobs are done remotely today, a face-to-face interview may take place via video/Skype conferencing software.

Cerritos careers

So it’s vital that you understand how “real” these interviews are in a hiring manager’s or recruiter’s eyes. It’s also important that you feel comfortable interviewing over the phone or via a screen, so depending on your familiarity speaking on the phone and/or talking to people via video, we’re here to help you ace these types of job interviews. Take a look below at our tips.

  • Whether on the phone or via video, make sure you’re in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.

Most in-person interviews take place in an office without interruptions. You need to find a place where you won’t be interrupted during the phone call/Skype session. (After all, you don’t want this to happen.)

If a recruiter calls and asks if you have a few minutes to talk, it’s OK to ask if you could set a time to talk later or ask to call back in a few minutes. Truly! You really should make sure you’re in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. (We know a woman who was on vacation with her daughter when called by a recruiter for a screening call. The woman asked if she could call back in a few minutes, drove to a park, asked her 10-year-old daughter to go play where she could see her for a few minutes and then called the interviewer back. She did well and was called in for an in-person interview and eventually was offered the position.)

  • Dress as you would for an in-person meeting.

Even if the interview is by phone only, it’s still wise to dress well, even in the same clothes you would wear for an in-person meeting. Doing so puts you in the right frame of mind: it’s a job interview and it needs to be taken seriously so serious clothes are called for!

Dressing job-interview appropriate is even more important in a video interview because, well, the interviewer will see your face, shoulders, possibly even your torso. You could dress as some newscasters do – in a jacket/shirt/tie/blouse and wear jeans because only your top half will be visible. But, seriously: dress for the part completely. You’re going to be “on,” and just as actors dress according to their roles, you should dress correctly for this important role: that of job candidate.

  • Additional pointers.

In many ways, a phone or video interview is much like an in-person interview: the rules still apply.

  1. Be on time.
  2. Make sure you know the exact number to call, or if the interviewer will call you.
  3. Be ready for some introductory chit-chat.
  4. Speak clearly. This is even more important via phone/video. You also want to be sure to smile. The interviewer may not see your smile on the phone, but your tone of voice does change when smiling and it makes you come across as friendly.
  5. If on a Skype chat, make sure you look into the camera, not “into” your screen. (You may need to practice this with a friend.)
  6. Be careful of answering “Uh-huh.” “Hmm,” and so on. These may be fine in an-in-person setting where the interview can see you but they may be lost in a phone/video interview and, especially over the phone, may not be heard at all. In addition, if on a phone interview, remember that you and the interviewer can’t see each other and therefore can’t pick up on visual clues. So it’s even more important that you speak clearly and even ask if the interviewer understood what you meant.

If you’re thinking of how to best come across in a job interview, you’re probably looking for work. If so, check out Helpmates’ current job opportunities. If you find a few that interest you, follow the instructions on the job description and/or contact the office listing it.

Want to Make Sure You’re Happy at Work? Choose the Right Job AND Company

Since most of us spend more than a third of our waking hours Monday through Friday at work (one arguably could make the case that it’s more than a third after adding on commuting time and the business of getting ready for work in the morning), all of us more  than likely want an enjoyable one-third day. Maybe even a great one-third day. Certainly not a miserable third.

Many of us, therefore, may think we need to find the perfect career or certainly perfect job in order to be happy.

Southern California Jobs

But even perfect jobs/careers have their bad sides. We know of one physical therapist, for example, who loves treating her patients. The other four hours of her day typing up notes and treatment plans? Not so much: she truly hates the paperwork part, so much so that she’s seriously thinking of changing careers.

So the first thing we need to realize is that we’re not going to be happy for all eight-plus hours on all five days per week.

But we can work to make work pleasant most of the time. Here’s how:

Plan for it.

What we mean is this: you’re not going to stumble into happy circumstances on the job. Instead, you need to know what kind of working environment you enjoy along with the work you like to do. You also may want to consider the personalities of your coworkers.

Another real life example: we know of one woman who took a job in a cube farm that was dark most of the time because her colleagues who worked near the wall of windows on the southeast side couldn’t see their computer screens most of the day because the sun shined right onto them.

She also noticed during the two interview she had with the hiring manager that her future colleagues seemed to keep pretty much to themselves most  of the day. The room was dark and exceptionally quiet.

A voice inside her told her she would be miserable but she took the job knowing she would enjoy the actual work and believing its great benefits – quitting at 2 p.m. every day in the summer, five weeks of paid vacation a year – would make up for the quiet, dark room.

She was miserable and ended up leaving the job within six months (before summer and before she qualified for even one week of vacation).

So ask yourself some questions:

  • Do you like working alone or as part of the team most of the time?
  • Do you need windows?
  • Do you need an office where you can close the door and concentrate?
  • How do you feel about colleagues in an open office playing their radio/streaming music quietly? Televisions on the wall?
  • Ask your boss how she prefers to manage people. Autonomy-with-guidance-as-needed or is she someone who checks on progress every day? Does her management style jibe with how you prefer to be managed?
  • And so on.

These questions may sound trivial, but if you were to talk to either of the women mentioned above, you’d understand that the trivial – the details – are critical to being happy at work. Even the work you love to do can become a burden when the where, how and some of the what makes you miserable.

If you’ve found yourself stuck in a position that you thought would be a great fit work but you found soon enough comes with aspects that make you despondent, consider taking on a temp-to-hire position through Helpmates Staffing. These are temporary assignments that allow you to take work in a position for about three months before signing on more permanently (if both you and your on-site manager agree). These types of temporary positions are a terrific way to “test drive” a company’s and department’s culture to see if you enjoy not only the work, but also your colleagues and work environment.

Take a look at some of our current job opportunities. (Use Advanced Search and click on Temp-to-Hire under Employment Type.)

© Year Helpmates Staffing Services. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Statement | Site Map | Site Credits.