Virtual, phone or pre-recorded interviews have advantages and disadvantages compared with in-person interviews. All of these types of interviews require additional preparation to ensure you will be successful.

Preparations Common to All Types of Interviews

  • Do research on the company.
  • Anticipate questions and practice answers.
  • Conduct a telephone mock interview.

Preparations for a Successful Phone Interview

  • Schedule the appointment in advance. Avoid answering unexpected phone interviews by asking the caller to schedule a time for your appointment.

  • Confirm details of the appointment and who will be initiating the call.

  • Prepare a quiet, comfortable and private space for your phone call. Avoid locations with background noises and interruptions.

  • Use a landline for the best reception. If you must use a cell phone make sure you will have good reception.

  • Turn off call waiting.

  • Make a backup plan with the employer in case you are disconnected. Agree on who will will call back, you or the employer.

  • Make sure that you answer the call when it comes and not your friends or family members.

  • Answer the call in a professional way by saying, “Hello this is ….”

Purpose of Phone Interviews

Employers use the phone interview to screen candidates and narrow the pool of candidates who will be invited for face-to-face interviews. It can also be used to conduct interviews with candidates in other towns and to avoid travel.

Advantages of Phone Interviews

  • You can refer to your resume and notes, but don’t read them. Be conversational.

  • You don’t have to dress up unless it makes you feel more professional.

  • Don’t chew gum, smoke or eat during the interview.

  • Have water available.

Telephone Interview Etiquette

  • At the beginning of the call make sure you understand the caller’s name, title and address him or her as Mr. or Ms.

  • Ask if the caller can hear you will and make adjustments if not.

  • Put warmth into your voice, sound energetic and enthusiastic.

  • Listen carefully to the questions and don’t interrupt.

  • If you need the interviewer to repeat a question, just ask.

  • Expect there to be long pauses in between when you finish answering a question and another question is asked.

  • Make sure you follow up with a thank-you note by email.

Purpose of Virtual Interviews (Zoom, Skype, Facetime, iChat)

This type of interview has become increasingly popular. Companies can interview candidates who are far away and save money on travel costs. It is better than phone interview because the interviewer can see the candidates clothing and both can see each other’s body language and facial expressions which contribute to the communication process.

Necessary Equipment

  • A webcam, microphone, and video chat software. These may already be built into your computer, tablet or phone.

  • A fast, reliable internet connection is essential to ensure good quality transmission and to avoid dropped calls.

  • Get online 15 minutes early to test your equipment and make any necessary adjustments.

Positioning Yourself in the Webcam

  • Place the webcam at eye level so that your head and upper torso are visible.

  • Dress as you would for an in-person interview.

  • When the interviewer is talking you can look at the screen. When you are talking look at the webcam to simulate direct eye contact.

  • Make sure that the background is neat and appropriate since the employer will see that on the screen.

  • Test your lighting to ensure your face is well-lit and there is no bright light behind you. Experiment to find the most flattering lighting and seating position.

  • Ensure that there is no background noise, like a barking dog, or other interruptions.

Pre-Recorded Video Interviews

As a first-round interview screening, some employers may ask you to record and submit a video of yourself responding to interview questions. The employer will send you instructions about how the video will be made. You will follow the instructions and access a video of the employer asking you an interview question. You will be given a short set amount of time to think about your response. The video will begin and you will answer the question. The process continues like this until you have answered all of their questions. You will follow the employer’s instructions to submit the video.

Acing the Pre-Recorded Video Interview

  • Follow the previous Webcam Interview instructions to prepare your equipment and recording best practices.

  • Speak clearly and don’t rush through your responses. The employer must be able to understand your recorded reply. Remember, you may only get one chance to answer each question.

  • Check the employer’s instructions for details about the amount of time you will have to answer each question. Some may give you a chance to re-record your answers.

  • Practice answering common interview questions within the amount of time the employer gives you.

  • After the interview send a thank-you note to the employer.