Archives—March 2018

How should I prepare for a phone/video interview?

First interviews over the phone or internet are increasingly common.  Here are some things to watch out for:

Content preparation:

  1. Develop good answers to the most common questions (google around to find a list of common questions).
  2. Have two questions prepared for when they ask if you have any questions (google around to see what questions folks suggest in your field).
  3. Know something about the organisation you’re interviewing with (do your homework).

Language and Image:

  1. Avoid minimising language in your answers (“I’d just like to say…”  “Maybe this is wrong, but…”  “I don’t know much about it but…“.  If you practice you’ll see that you can give the same answer (what you know about the topic) and can deliver it without the preface of “All I know about that is ...” or some other minimising language.
  2. Speak clearly.  If you tend to speak rapidly, slow down.  Make sure your answers do not run on and on-they likely have more to ask you.
  3. Avoid simple yes/no answers.  If you need time to think, say “Hmm, let me think about that for a minute.” to get yourself time and so they know why you’re not answering.  Don’t take longer than a minute.

Preparation and Setting:

  1. Be on time.  Don’t schedule any other appointment too close to the end of the interview; you do not want to have to cut it short.
  2. Be in a private space where you will not be interrupted.
  3. Have a paper and pen handy for taking notes; note down the name of your interviewer and address them formally until they invite you to do otherwise.
  4. Have your resume handy; they likey have it handy and are reading from it.  Mark up your copy with other topics/interests that branch from your resume in case there is an opportunity to talk about these.
  5. Try to project confidence and good will.  How to do this will depend on you, but give it some thought.

Technical advice:

  1. Use a land line for a phone interview to avoid technical problems; if this is not feasible think hard about how good your connection will be at the time of the interview.  If it’s a video interview use a good connection.
  2. If it’s a video interview, look at your camera, not at the image of your interviewer on the screen.  Dress professionally.  Check out the background behind you and choose it wisely.  Check out your technical connections early to avoid delays.

Good luck.  If you have any advice to add to this post, please send it to cmadvise@mtu.edu.