Interview Preparation – Phone and Zoom

Remote interviews have been on the rise in the last couple of years, and they’re here to stay…

With the COVID-19 Pandemic changing the job market, interviews had to adapt with it. It’s useful to know what to expect, and how you can ensure that you present yourself in the best way. We’ve compiled some tips to help you prepare!

Phone Interview – The basics

  • It’s important to ensure that you can find somewhere quiet to undertake your phone interview, reducing background noise so that you and the interviewer can hear each other without disturbances.
  • Make sure that wherever you are, your phone has a strong signal to minimise chances of the phone call cutting off.
  • Prepare for any questions that you know/expect will come up during the interview.
  • Have a few things with you that could come in handy, like a pen and paper to make notes, and your CV for reference.

First impressions count!

  • Ensure that you’re available for 5 minutes prior to the agreed time of the interview, just in case the call comes in slightly earlier.
  • Answer the call professionally and politely, using your name helps the caller know that they’ve got through to the right person, for example, “Hello, Jane Doe speaking.”
  • Make some initial, appropriate small talk with your interviewer, asking them how their day is going and if they’re okay. This will help to build a friendly repertoire.

During the interview…

  • Speak clearly and slowly so that your interviewer can understand you.
  • Take time to explain your answers, using examples of work that you’ve done that is relevant to the job and question.
  • Ask for repetition of the question if you didn’t understand it or you need a bit more time to form your answer before responding.
  • Take notes of anything that the interviewer says that you might want to refer back to or ask questions about later.

Zoom Interview – The basics

  • Familiarise yourself with the technology that you’ll be using. Ask a friend or family member to test it with you, ensuring your microphone and camera are working properly.
  • Find somewhere to undertake your interview that has an appropriate background and good lighting. Try to find a space in your home that isn’t cluttered, or if you’re in the office, book a meeting room.
  • Whether you’re going to be at home or in the office for the interview, let any family members, roommates or colleagues know that you have a meeting planned and not to disturb you during that time.
  • Check that you have the meeting invitation/link prior to the meeting, remembering to check your junk mail. If it hasn’t come through 30 minutes before the meeting is due to start, get in touch with the interviewer.
  • Making a list of notes/prompts to remind you during the interview is a good way to prepare. A great tip is to make these on post-it notes and stick them on a wall in front of you so that you can see them without looking distracted!

First impressions…

  • Don’t forget to turn your camera on! The interviewer will want to see your face during the interview.
  • Dress appropriately, as you would for an in person interview, making sure you look professional.
  • Smile! You want to give the best impression straight away, and looking friendly is the best way to do that.

During your interview

  • Remain engaged with the interviewer – look at the camera when both you and the interviewer are talking, smiling and nodding shows that you are engaged and understand what they’re saying to you.
  • Don’t check your phone! Put it on silent, and turn it face down so that it doesn’t distract you.
  • Keep a glass of water next to you – this is great if you get thirsty but also a good way to save you a bit of time to think – take a sip while you’re thinking of how to answer a question!
  • Remember you’re on camera, if you’re caught off guard by an unexpected question, try to keep your facial expressions neutral and take a moment to think of your answer.

Any questions?

  • Be ready to ask questions about the role, the working environment, what the next steps might be or when you’ll hear back.
  • It’s important to ask relevant questions that show your interest in the role or company.

Sometimes the unexpected happens…

  • If you don’t hear from the interviewer at the agreed time, don’t panic. Call your recruiter or contact the company directly if you haven’t been referred through a recruiter. The interviewer may need to rearrange, or they might be running late.
  • If you’re running late or can’t make the interview, let the appropriate person/people know with plenty of notice and make sure to pass on your apologies.
  • If you’re doing a video call and your technology isn’t working straight away, don’t worry. Let your recruiter/interviewer know and try to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

And Remember:

  • Relax! It’s hard to gauge what interviewers are thinking over the phone or on video calls as they’re often making notes while you’re answering questions – don’t let it put you off, be yourself!
  • Always get in touch with your recruiter afterwards to let them know how it went. Honesty is the best policy here!
  • If you’re in direct contact with your interviewer, send a follow up email, thanking them for taking the time to chat with you and letting them know that you’re looking forward to hearing from them further.

Following these preparation tips should help you to be a pro at remote interviews. Good luck!

If you still feel as though you need to chat things through with someone – why not get in touch? We’d be happy to go over any interview preparation (or our own personal advice!) with you.

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