Telephone and Virtual Interviews

Telephone Interviews

If possible, provide employers with only one number where you can be reached. Remind anyone that may answer your phone to be professional since you are in the midst of a job search and ensure that your voice mail message is appropriate. Your voice message should include both your phone number as well as your name.

  • Even though you may not recognize a phone number, always answer the phone in a professional demeanor.
  • When on a cell phone, only talk in areas you know have strong reception.
  • Do not talk on the phone with anything in your mouth.  However, it is acceptable to have water handy.
  • Avoid background noise.  In problem cases, either quickly change locations or ask if you can return their call.
  • If they are calling you, thank them for contacting you.
  • Use the person's title (Dr., Ms. or Mr.) with their last name. Use their first name when asked.
  • If you are in a car when a recruiter calls, you may wish to pull over so that you can concentrate fully.
  • Disable call waiting to avoid distractions.
  • Have a paper/pen, employer/position information, and your resume handy for reference.
  • Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.  It's also fine to collect your thoughts before responding to a question.
  • Smile frequently while talking.  Surprisingly, enthusiasm is conveyed with this simple technique.
  • Never interrupt the interviewer.
  • After you thank the interviewer, ask for the opportunity to meet with them in person for a second interview.
  • Send a thank you letter within 24-48 hours to reiterate your interest in the position.

Virtual Interviews

More job candidates are now participating in Web-based, video conferencing rather than in-person interviews. Typically, online inrterviews are used as an initial screening device, or in cases where geography is an obstacle.

  • Be familiar with the technology by ensuring your computer Webcam and sound work properly.
  • Make sure any needed software, such as Skype, is loaded and functioning by doing a trial run with a friend.
  • Decide where you will conduct the virtual interview.  Avoid distractions and background noise.
  • Make sure that your backdrop is neat, well lit, and not overly bland.  Plants, pictures, and lamps look professional and add depth.  Avoid posters, doorways, cluttered bookcases, and sunlit windows behind you which cast shadows.  Natural light shining in front of you accents you the best.
  • Dress as you would for an in-person interview.  The process might seem informal, but it is the real thing.
  • Know who will initiate the call.  Regardless of who calls who, share contact information so both parties are easily located.  Make sure your account name is professional. 
  • Be ready 15 minutes prior to the scheduled interview time to get used to your surroundings (some situations may require you to arrive at a special video conferencing location).
  • Pay attention to the camera level and always look into the camera instead of at the computer screen or desk.
  • Don't eat or drink anything during the interview.
  • Be aware that slight transmission delays may occur and frequent pauses may be necessary to avoid interruptions.
  • Learn from others mistakes by checking out the disastrous job interview.

Remember, despite the virtual format, the guidelines for traditional interviewing still hold true.