What to Do When Your Job Interview Isn’t In Person

So you’ve landed a job interview with a great company – awesome! But then you learn you won’t actually be required to go into the office and that the employer would like to talk to you by phone or video. Don’t panic: video and phone interviews are becoming an increasingly common first step in the job interview process, so it’s important to be prepared for this possibility. With that in mind, I’ve put together some tips for succeeding in video and phone interviews.

Video Job Interview Tips

For many companies, a video interview is the easiest way to see a candidate without having to worry about the expense of meeting in-person (e.g., travel, booking a meeting place, etc.).

It can be great to interview for a job without even leaving your house, but keep in mind that you have to prepare for a video interview just as you would an in-person interview!

  • As always, practice makes perfect! Get some video interview practice by creating an account on InterviewStream. It’s a free resource for all TRSM students, and a great way to practice before you have the actual interview. The system has optional pre-set questions, or you can work with any of your career consultants to draft an interview for you. Once complete, your career consultant can view the results and provide feedback immediately.
  • Before doing a video interview, make sure to check your microphone and sound settings. Test them out with a family member or friend in advance so there aren’t any technological anxieties on the day of the interview. You would hate to be halfway through a great interview only to have technical difficulties!
  • Elevate your laptop/tablet/webcam on a book or other platform to ensure it’s at eye-level. There’s nothing worse than the employer seeing your chin instead of your face! Make sure it’s also level so the view is as close to face-to-face as possible.
  • If you’re using Skype, make sure your username is professional! Employers can view your username (even if you change your profile name), and you want to make sure your account is cleaned up.
  • Remember: like in-person interviews, it’s important to maintain eye contact, smile, and avoid fidgeting. They can still see you, even though they aren’t physically in front of you. With that in mind…
  • Dress the part! You would never wear your pyjamas to an in-person interview, and a video interview is no different. And this goes for your bottom half, too! If, for whatever reason, you have to stand up during the video interview, you want to make sure your entire look is professional! Additionally, dressing the part also allows to you be confident as you would during an in-person interview.
  • Oh, and one more tip! And make sure you’re alone, in a tidy-looking professional environment. You wouldn’t invite your parents or roommates to join your in-person job interview, so make sure they don’t happen to stumble in during a video interview.

Phone Job Interview Tips

Like video interviews, phone interviews can be a first step for employers to start weeding out the large number of applications. Phone interviews are meant to be shorter than a regular interview, and you’re likely to hear fairly basic and generic questions like:

“Tell me about yourself…”

“Why do you want this role?”

“Can you tell me a bit more about ______ on your resume?”

“Speak to some of the skills you believe would be great for this role…”

These questions can be tough to answer, so brush up on how to deal with them by reading some of my previous blog posts:

How to Answer Five Tough Interview Questions

How to Deal with Unanswerable Interview Questions

When you’re being interviewed by phone, make sure you’re in a quiet space with no distractions or people speaking loudly behind you. Additionally, just like the video interview, dressing the part can helps boost your confidence and make you feel properly prepared.

The TRSM Business Career Hub offers lots of resources for job seekers. Visit their website to learn more.