For starters, you still need to dress the part.
Thanks to that thing called the Internet, there’s less and less need to be interviewed in person for a job. Which is fab, because it means you no longer have to fly all over the world to be able to apply for jobs wherever you want. And, for interviewers stretched for time, they can literally meet you anywhere, any time. Yay!
The problem is that Skype and phone interviews demand a whole new technique and – especially if it’s your first remote interview – can be intimidating for you to prep for. Visual impressions become more important, because it’s still trickier to read someone’s vibe or personality when you’re not with them in the same room. And the temptation to skimp on some of the extra effort you’d put in for an in-person interview (fierce lipstick shade, knock-em-dead outfit) just because you’re not physically in front of your interview is real – and bad!
Here are seven tips to ace your next remote interview, whether it’s over the phone, via Skype or heck, via anything that uses fandangled tech.
Treat it like a face-to-face interview
Do exactly the same prep as you would for a ‘normal’ interview. Research the company, check out the interview panel on LinkedIn and prep your answers to common questions you’re likely to be asked. You should expect the process to be the same as if you were sitting across the table from your potential boss, so do the same homework.
And when it comes to what you wear, dress as if you were turning up to your interviewer’s office. Sure, they may not be able to see your whole outfit, but looking sharp will help you feel sharp, and put you in the right headspace for an interview. Just be mindful of the crop an interviewer may see if you’re doing a video interview. Wearing a strapless top but the screen crops to your head and shoulders? Make sure it doesn’t look like you’re topless (even if you aren’t)! Add a piece of jewellery to counter the visual trick a cropped video feed could play on an interviewer, or opt for a long-sleeved top.
Check your interviewer’s contact info several days in advance
There’s nothing worse than hitting ‘Call’ on Skype exactly on the dot of the scheduled time, only to realise you can’t find your interviewer’s contact info anywhere. Cue a nerve-racking scramble to fix the issue – and the same effect as rocking up late to an in-person meeting.
At least a week before your scheduled remote interview, make sure you’ve received all the contact info you need to make the call happen. And get clarity on whether you’re going to be calling them, or if they’ll be dialling you. (While you’re at it, make sure your Skype name and/or profile pic is work-appropriate.) That way, you’ll be good to go when your interview time hits.
Ensure you’ve got a good connection
Test your line by calling or Skyping a friend, and seeing if the connection is clear or keeps dropping. Struggling to hear what they’re saying on the other end? Find a quiet café somewhere with a strong connection you can use, or research shared workspaces in your area – many hire out Skype cubicles by the hour for exactly this kind of need.
If data is really going to be a problem and you haven’t got a fix, be honest with your interviewer in advance. Let them know you can’t find a good enough Internet line for a clear, audible interview and then suggest an alternative, like calling you on your cellphone.
Prep your interview location
Just because you’re Skyping from home doesn’t mean it’s okay to have your washing hanging up behind you on the interviewer’s screen. Just like prepping your interview outfit to ensure you look slick and professional, curate the background for your Skype or video call. A white background is ideal – it’s a clean, blank canvas that won’t offend anyone, or give an interviewer a bad impression.
Skyping from a café? Hit the venue up in advance and make sure there’s a quiet spot for you to use that isn’t cluttered. And avoid anywhere with regular distractions, like yelling waiters or lots of foot traffic.
Don’t rely on your phone or e-mails for reference
Thought you could scroll through your phone to give examples of your portfolio while you’re interviewing? Think again. For starters, you’re probably going to be on your phone for the interview – and trying to scroll on it while you chat isn’t going to look professional. But also remember that what you see on your side isn’t what they can see on theirs. Unlike an in-person interview, where you can show them a book, project or piece of paper to demonstrate something, it’s trickier to do this remotely. Prep PDFs in advance so you can instant message or e-mail them to your interviewers while you chat (if relevant). If need be, send a host of slick attachments to your interviewer in advance, with something like, ‘These are references that I might refer to in my interview. Here they are for your reference in advance, so you’ll know what I’m referring to when we chat.’
Print any docs you want to use just for your own reference (like a copy of your CV). That way, you’ll have all your info at hand for quick referral as you chat, with zero scrambling required.
Send a courteous thank-you email
Just like after an in-person e-mail, impress interviewers with a polite but short thank-you email afterwards. Something as simple as, ‘Thank so much for giving me the time to talk to you. I look forward to hearing from you soon’ is great.
Make sure you’re fully offline before you breathe a sigh of relief
Because we’ve all made a passing comment after hanging up the phone, only to realise the person we’re bitching about is still on the line and can hear everything. Recoverable if it’s a friend; disastrous if it’s an interviewer on the other end.
From Cosmo ZA
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