As you prepare for an interview, it is important to consider the interview type as much as the interview questions. Phone, in-person, or video interviews all have nuances that you should be aware of as you approach each scenario.
Not surprisingly, ETS Tech-Ops Account Executives tell us most businesses will conduct an initial phone interview first. If that goes well, a second phone or video interview may follow or perhaps an invite to the company for a site visit and in-person interview.
The initial phone interview will be much more of a meet and greet and a discussion about why you’re interested in the position. Details will typically be light, but you should be prepared to discuss your current skillset, experience, and why you want to come to the area. Certifications and past training may also be discussed as well.
Telephone Interview Tips
- Your main goal in a telephone interview is to get a face-to-face interview. Keep the conversation progressing towards that point. Ask for the interview. Take the initiative to set a time. Say something like, “From what you have told me, I would be very interested in meeting with you and coming to see your facility. When would be good for you?”
- Return your phone messages and emails promptly. It speaks to your motivation, interest, and courtesy. On more than one occasion, we have seen a candidate receive a call from Company B while talking with Company A. The candidate puts off returning the call to Company B, only to have the opportunity with Company A not shake out and now Company B will not consider the candidate because no calls have been returned.
- Smile—even on the phone. You really can hear when someone is smiling.
Video interviewing is quickly becoming a favorite medium for employers to connect with potential candidates. Although it may sound simple enough, understanding how to participate in a video interview and ensure everything goes smoothly takes some preparation.
Video Interview Tips
- Have a good connection and test your tech. Make sure your internet connection and speed is up to the task of a video interview. Stuttering video, skipping audio, or, worse, a connection that drops out altogether are all symptoms of slow internet speeds. Several days before the interview, test your webcam, microphone, and computer to ensure everything is working correctly. Familiarize yourself with volume controls and any settings that might improve the quality of your interview.
- Consider what’s behind you. Where you decide to set up your webcam plays a huge role in the quality of your overall presentation. Try to choose a quiet area with sufficient lighting, and make sure what’s behind you isn’t distracting to the interviewer. If you’re at home, make sure everyone in the house knows when and where the interview is taking place to help avoid distractions.
- Dress for success. Although the interviewer will likely only see you from the waist up, dress in full professional attire as if you were meeting them in person.
- Practice makes perfect! Talking into a camera is very different from speaking with someone in person. Practice looking directly at the camera when you speak so that the interviewer can see your eyes. Try to avoid looking down at the screen or around the room when speaking, as doing so could communicate disinterest or disengagement from the task at hand.
On a site visit, potential employers will typically take you to tour the facilities and may have you shadow one of the current employees. During the in-person interview, they will typically lay out more details about the company and what would be fully expected of you in the role. Numbers will typically be discussed such as base salary, earning potential, employment requirements, and timelines.
In-Person Interview Tips
- Treat everyone at the company with courtesy and respect. A hiring manager often feels like his or her employees are like family and will listen to their opinion, especially if it is negative.
- Smile and show enthusiasm. More candidates are hired because of their personality and positive attitude than their specific skills.
- Show sincere interest in the hiring authority’s situation by clearly understanding their situation. Maybe the company just lost a key employee or is growing and cannot keep up with demand. Ask questions, be curious, and demonstrate empathy. Once you truly understand the needs of the hiring authority, you can mutually determine if you are the solution.
- If you are interested, let the manager know. At the close of the interview, say something like, “I just wanted to let you know that I am very interested in this opportunity and I am ready to take the next step, whatever that is. How do we proceed from here?”
As with any interview, prepare yourself ahead of time to answer questions in a concise manner that highlights your accomplishments and addresses how you would be of benefit to the employer. Always be polite; even if you find that you are not interested, the experience is worth the networking. Listen well and don’t share negative stories about other companies or situations you’ve been put in. Above all, always keep your interview experiences professional.