Posted by Robert Half on 05 August 2015
First impressions count, even if you’re not meeting your interviewer in person.
Remote working is becoming the norm in this Internet age, and with that, remote job interviews are in vogue as well.
So how do you present yourself in the best way to land the job of your dreams when the interview is held on Skype or on the phone? We give you several dos and don’ts on how you can make an impact without being physically there.
1. Technical equipment
Do: Set up the technical equipment beforehand
You wouldn’t want your interviewers to be deciphering every word through a haze of distortion, so ensure that all your audio equipment is in decent working condition. Familiarise yourself with the software you’ll be using, in case you run into technical issues.
Don’t: Settle for sketchy audio equipment
Most webcam microphones pick up all ambient sound – great if you plan to make acoustic cover videos, but not so much for a Skype interview. Steer clear of the default equipment and invest in a standing microphone or headset; even the cheapest option at a computer store will be far superior to the inbuilt laptop microphone. For a phone interview, use the earpiece – it beats fumbling with the functions on an overheated phone.
Do: Prepare the environment
Hold the Skype and phone interviews in a quiet, peaceful place, away from any distractions. Get any potential disruptions out of the way; nothing ruins a job interview like your dog chewing through your laptop cable.
Don’t: Leave your mess for all to see
Clear your surroundings of visible clutter – you might consider it an organised mess, but your interviewer would most certainly disagree! Conduct a test call with a friend beforehand to get everything running smoothly, making sure the microphone doesn’t pick up any unwanted noise.
3. Notes and memos
Do: Prepare notes
Use the medium to your advantage by preparing a set of notes. These can include background information on the company, industry happenings, or simply your resume so you’ll have the nitty-gritty details at your fingertips.
Don’t: Read directly from your notes
Try to keep it short and simple by writing in point form and using keywords instead of long sentences. You want to sound confident, not scripted.
4. Mutual communication
Do: Show you are listening
Keep everything you need within reach to prevent awkward, uncertain pauses. Even a few seconds of silence when the interviewer is waiting for a response can be extremely unnerving. Show you are listening with little things like nodding your head or giving a little smile. For a phone interview, you can throw in the occasional, “I understand”, “agreed”, and “I see”, so your interviewer knows you are actively engaged in the conversation. Keep the tone of the interview pleasant and upbeat, and you’ll be in the interviewer’s good books in no time.
Don’t: Surf the web or your social media feed.
Put your phone face down on the table during the interview. Sip from a glass of water when your interviewer is speaking and resist the urge to multi-task, in case you lose focus.
5. Plan B
Do: Be prepared for the worst
Technology has a way of throwing us curve balls, and nothing exposes your problem-solving skills (or lack thereof) like your frustration in dealing with problems during the call. If it’s your network suddenly disconnects and you can’t get connected again, quickly drop an email or text message via your mobile to your interviewer to explain and reschedule.
It’s not a deal-breaker if you have a technical problem you can’t fix, unless you’re interviewing for the job of a Skype technician. Stay cool and collected no matter what happens, and you’ll be able to breeze through the interview with ease.