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Keys To A Successful Job Interview – In Person, Phone, Skype

How to interview via phone, face-to-face and Skype

telephone interviewIn a struggling economy, dozens if not hundreds of people are applying for the same career opportunity. When you finally get that call or email to schedule an interview, the news can bring with it two conflicting feelings: Relief and Nervousness. That’s understandable. You know it’s essential to have a successful job interview. Today you may be expected to interview in a variety of situations including over-the-phone, in-person or via Skype.

The In-Person Interview – Tips for Success

The oldest and most common type of interview is, of course, the in-person interview. In it, your potential employer has a chance to see you in person, hear your voice, watch your mannerisms and get an overall feel for the type of employee you would be. While the most popular of all types of interviews, this also tends to be one of the most intimidating.

Wrapping a winning smile around a dry mouth and steadying a sweaty palm for a handshake can be enough to have anybody’s stomach in knots. So, what’s the best way to overcome this natural nervousness and put your best foot forward?

Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio of Six Figure Start offers these practical tips for before, during and after your interview:

Before the Interview:

  • Prepare at least two days in advance. Wear the best interview outfit you have and try everything on in advance. Be sure you look immaculate: shoes, nails, etc.
  • Research the company, the key players and everyone you’ll be interviewing with online (Google, LinkedIn).
  • PRACTICE – Get an interview guide and practice in front of a mirror or have a friend interview you
  • Know where you are going. Visit the area or building the day before so you’ll know where to park, etc. Plan to get there early.
  • Always bring extra copies of your resume.

During the Interview:

  • Give the interviewer a firm handshake, look them in the eye and smile. Project confidence even if you’re not feeling it.
  • If you’ve met other people from the company mention them, be clear about how and where  you met
  • Answer the interviewer’s questions, practice answers to the most common questions to help you stay on track.
  • Be authentic and honest with all your responses.
  • Feel free to take notes during the interview. Prepare questions to ask at the end of the interview.

After the Interview:

  • Shake hands, maintain good eye contact and smile at the end of the interview.
  • When you get home email a thank you note right away. Make sure to get a business card from each person you interview with so you’ll have the correct spelling of his or her name and the right email address. Mention something that happened during the interview to help make the connection.

Also, be sure to turn your cell phone on silent before every meeting. Nothing derails a great interview like your recently downloaded Lady Gaga ringtone.

Initial Interviews via Phone and/or Skype

These days, with so many people applying for the same job, employers would literally spend all day interviewing if they didn’t weed out certain candidates. Just fifteen minutes on the telephone or on Skype is a great way to get to know a little bit about a potential candidate before scheduling an in-person meeting.

Telephone Interviews – How to Put Your Best Voice Forward

One of the most common interview mistakes people make is thinking that a telephone interview is a more “relaxed atmosphere”. It’s not. If anything, you might have to work a bit harder to impress a potential employer. They can’t feel your firm handshake or see your confident smile so you have to rely heavily on your voice to make your winning personality shine through.

Ellie Nieves of Leadership Strategies for Women offers some top tips for telephone interview success:

  • Ensure that there’s no background noise.
  • Use a landline if possible (for clearer reception).
  • Turn the gadgets off.
  • Don’t make jokes. They may come off inappropriately without facial expressions to help convey your meaning.
  • Have a “Cheat Sheet” with the key accomplishments that you want to mention during the interview.
  • Smile! It naturally lightens up the tone of your voice.
  • Don’t give one word answers.
  • Keep your responses to one or two minutes at most. Don’t ramble.

As with any type of interview, be sure to do thorough research on your potential employer ahead of time. Research key players and the people you’ll be interviewing with in advance. The more knowledgeable you are about the company and its employees, the more impressive you’ll look to a potential employer.

Skype – How to Succeed in This Emerging Interview Venue

Emerging technology has made it possible for employers and potential candidates to meet and connect all over the world. Whether you’re interviewing for an at-home contract position or a typical 9-5 job, be sure to do your research on the company, its values and its employees.

Dianne Shaddock Austin, President of Easy Small Business HR.com suggests treating the Skype interview as you would any face-to-face interview because that’s what it is. Eliminate any background distractions such as a television, fish tank, pets or children. You want your interviewer to focus on you, not what’s going on in your home.

Dress as you would for any face-to-face interview. Sit up straight and don’t eat or drink during the interview. Look into the camera often to maintain “eye contact”. Also, don’t fiddle with objects at your desk. Being nervous is understandable; just try not to show it.

Michelle Lederman, author of 11 Laws of Likeability adds this simple yet important tip:

“Check your camera angle. Be aware of what they see and remove anything that does not reflect professionally or looks like it is climbing out of your head.”

Also, avoid the “nose” shot. Place the camera at eye level or slightly above so your interviewer doesn’t spend the entire time speaking to your nostrils.

Lighting is important too. Too dark and your interviewer can’t see you, too bright and you look like you’re in an interrogation room.

One of the most important things to remember when preparing for any kind of interview is to do your research.  It’s crucial. Taking the time to get to know your interviewer and the company you’re interested in can go a long way in putting you at the top of the candidate list. Preparing in advance will increase your confidence so you can seal the deal and get that job!



About Jaime A. Heidel

Jaime A. Heidel is a freelance writer with a passion for helping others. She enjoys writing articles on all subjects and is also a published fiction writer.


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