Phone/Video Interview Tips
The following is information provided by Kristen Connor from the Stanford Career Center (BEAM).
Phone/Video interviews are typically "screening" tools in which organizations interview a large selection of candidates, checking to see who possesses the necessary skills and qualities. Upon completion, a smaller number of candidates will be invited to participate in in-person interviews. Additionally, phone/video interviews are used if the organization is too far away for candidates to visit in-person. For internships, phone/video interviews may be the only method of interviewing.
Phone Interview Do’s…
- Be prepared for employers to call at any time (ie. early morning)
- Reschedule for another time, if initial call is bad timing (ie. going to class, meeting, etc.)
- Have your resume and any other helpful notes/accomplishments in front of you during the interview
- Use your voice to show enthusiasm (and any other emotion you might express through non-verbals). Smile, it actually changes the tone of your voice!
- Project your voice clearly and enunciate. Stand if you feel it would be helpful for voice projection or nerves
- Ask the interviewer to repeat the question if you did not hear it or if you need clarification
- Remember to use the STAR method when answering questions so your responses will be detailed and efficient
- Make sure that your environment is quiet and free of distractions
- Use a land line phone if possible
- Establish how to reconnect if using a cell phone and the call is dropped
- Dress up if that helps with your mental preparation
- Have a pen and paper handy for note taking
- Keep a glass of water handy, in case your mouth becomes dry
Phone Interview Don’ts…
- Read your resume or other information verbatim
- Eat, drink, or chew gum
- Yawn into the phone
- Walk around the room with the phone
- Put the employer on hold, unless it’s an emergency
Video Interview Do’s…
- Make sure your camera and microphone work well (test with a friend)
- Have an inviting background behind you while on video – some solid colors or wood tones (no posters or other distractions)
- Establish how to reconnect if the session is dropped
- Look at the camera (vs. the screen) as much as possible during the interview
- Try to have the camera/screen eye level (or as close to it as possible) so you won’t be at an awkward angle on the interviewers screen
- Light your space properly so you are seen clearly
- Turn off any phones or other devices that might cause noise during the interview
- Put your hands on the desk or table in front of you to frame the picture for the viewer
- Make sure your computer is fully charged and ideally plugged in during the interview
- Have a professional or neutral video account name – no “partyanimal21”
Video Interview Don’ts…
- Fidget or play with papers. You never know what can really be seen or heard.
- Sit in a chair that swivels
- Turn your head away while talking. It is unlikely your microphone will be able to pick up your voice.
- Don’t allow anyone in your room/space during the interview
- Wear white on top or large pattern clothes which can be hard to see or distracting for the viewer
Note for the OCT when conducting a mock phone interview:
To simulate a phone interview, turn your chair backs to each other. Recognize an increased need to pay attention to volume (speak louder), speed (speak slower), conveying emotion (still smile; they will be able to tell), and using signposts (“In summary, that is my view about…”). Subtle body language ways of communicating will be lost.