Technology has revolutionised the way we work, live, communicate and interact. It has offered unimaginable freedom and possibilities, including many different ways for human beings to share.
With technology offering such different mediums for communication, it comes as no surprise that it has also transformed the way businesses interact with their staff and more specifically, the way they communicate with potential future staff.
Job interviews are common practice all over the world and give both the business and the applicant the possibility to ask and answer various sets of questions about the potential partnership they will enter. Whether it be to evaluate someone’s qualifications or trying to get a feel for the opposite party’s culture & beliefs, job interviews are definitely the business world’s equivalent to the “first date”.
“Job interviews are definitely the business world’s equivalent to the first date.”
Similarly to online dating, interviews are now being carried out in various ways. However, regardless of the medium used, whether the interview is face-to-face or being conducted through technology like Skype, it’s essential that you deliver a good first impression and confident responses which set you apart from every other candidates. No pressure!
It’s important not to be intimidated by a new method of interview. You can enhance your performance by taking time to become familiar with the specified medium and taking advantage of its benefits. Preparation can be as simple as finding a quiet place to receive a phone call, or setting up appropriate lighting for Skype. However, the medium can be a significant factor in regard to the general discourse of the interview. It’s essential that you are implementing an appropriate semantic script to answer each question and using suitable communication for that individual platform.
Undertaking a few simple steps can help you to be prepared and feel at ease…
A phone interview is often a stage in the recruitment process which precedes another. For example, you may be asked to complete a phone interview before receiving an invitation to a face-to-face interview. Phone interviews are common as they are a cost effective way for businesses to gain a brief insight into candidates and, unfortunately, begin a process of quick elimination.
Despite appearing less intimidating than a face-to-face interview, the concise and removed nature of a phone call can make it harder to distinguish yourself against other candidates. Fortunately, there are a few simple measures you can take to ensure your interview is memorable… for the right reasons!
One benefit of a phone interview is that your environment and physicality will be unknown to the interviewer— which means you can use notes! Preparing some brief notes is an excellent way to jog your memory when you are subjected to a question. Knowing you have them available for assistance will also ease nerves.
Don’t make the mistake of preparing whole sentences or paragraphs which will cause your tone to sound rehearsed. Simply organise your notes into sections such as “my skills” or “practical examples of talents” and jot a few dot points underneath. Having the position description in front of you (with the keywords highlighted) is also an excellent way to remember what the interviewer is looking for.
Listen, and accept short silences
When non-verbal communication is eliminated, special attention should be paid to pragmatics. Be aware of verbal cues, turn taking and silences. It’s important to preserve the script whereby the interviewer guides the conversation. Nerves and eagerness can cause you to feel pressured; however you should be accepting of short pauses.
A couple of beats after a question provides you with time to relax, absorb the question and judge what the interviewer is looking for. “Stepping back” and allowing yourself the time to think will decrease the chances from you saying something you may later regret. In addition, the constant use of linguistic “fillers” can clutter the conversation and add a tone of insecurity.
Although it is purely a verbal interview, the interviewer will be able to sense your smile through your tone. Smiling throughout the interview will leave the interviewer sensing positivity, enthusiasm and professionalism. Being mindful of your posture can allow you full strength of your lungs and a clear voice. Consider standing up and adopting a “powerful stance”. Feeling unconvinced? Watch this incredible TED talk with Amy Cuddy which presents some thrilling evidence about the power of posture.
Prepare your space
If possible, find out the expected date and time of the phone interview so you can ensure your location will be appropriate. Your space should be free from any possible interruptions, so it’s best to be alone with your phone’s “call waiting” function disabled. It’s a good idea to let others know that that you will be unreachable so as you’re not distracted. Also make sure your location provides full mobile reception (if using a landline is not possible). Other essentials include being in a quiet space and being close to everything you need (a desk, laptop and notes).
“Smiling throughout the interview will leave the interviewer sensing positivity, enthusiasm and professionalism.”
If you are new or an infrequent user of Skype, combining this platform with an important interview is probably enough to inflict some serious stomach-churning nerves. It’s time to move on past that fear, as according to a study by Right Management, a massive 82% of hiring managers have utilised Skype before.
If you take steps of preparation, Skype can offer major benefits. Unlike an over the phone interview, you can react to your interviewer’s body language and facial expressions. This can make it easier to build a rapport with the interviewer and ease the flow of conversation. Just do these simple steps to ensure your Skype session is beneficial:
Know the technology
The prospect of using Skype is usually daunting due to it being unfamiliar, so there is an obvious and easy solution: get to know it! If you don’t already have a Skype account, obtain one before accepting the interview offer. That way, you can send your newly created username on your confirmation email (nothing says professionalism like initiative and forward thinking!).
From here, spend time becoming confident with Skype. You may consider calling a friend or family member and rehearsing some of your answers. Sometimes technology fails, which is beyond control. Don’t let this become your biggest fear. If it plays up during the interview, stay calm, and offer to refresh Skype by calling the interviewer back.
Dress to impress
Just like a regular interview, your appearance should reflect a professional image. Take this as an opportunity to add another point of favourability which is exempt from over the phone interviews. It will demonstrate that you care and bother to invest personal efforts. In addition, dressing for business will help you feel motivated and organised.
Lights, (web) camera, action!
Conquer the visual and audio aspects of Skype so as your interviewer gains an attractive and seamless impression. Prepare your visual space by sitting somewhere fresh, tidy and appropriate for business. Yep, might be a good idea to move that dirty laundry basket or take down that hilariously inappropriate fridge magnet!
Another visual aspect is the lighting: ensure you have placed your computer in a well-lit area which also won’t cause glare. Also conduct a “test run” to assess the audio levels—if the sound quality is poor, consider using a headset with a microphone. Even regular earphones plus mic create clearer sound. Like phone interviews, your location should be free from any background noise or possible interruptions.
Mind your (body) language!
Remember that physical cues send powerful messages which will influence the interviewer’s opinion. Add to your professional and can-do demeanour by having an open upper body (no slouching or folded arms). Smile, make eye contact and mirror the body language of your interlocutor.
“Remember that physical cues send powerful messages which will influence the interviewer’s opinion.”
Traditional face-to-face interviews are often the concluding stage in the recruitment process. They can be time-consuming and costly, so often employers only conduct face-to-face interviews when they are interested in all of your credentials. You can increase your chances of leaving a lasting impression by mirroring your company’s investment. Show you are taking the opportunity seriously by following a few simple steps:
Know your skills and traits
It may appear obvious, but your skills and experience will be the crux of the interview, so it’s essential to have all of this information in mind. Before the interview, go over your resume and cover letter. If you are a university graduate, consider viewing previous subject outcomes to recollect what skills you gained through study.
Similarly, you can recall your practical experience by reviewing the roles and duties in your previous job description and remembering how you achieved or went beyond those goals. Your memory will also be evoked by practicing answers to likely questions. You may consider writing down a few key points and reviewing these before the big day.
Actions speak louder than words, so demonstrate your organisation skills by being prepared for the interview. Impress your interviewer by having copies of important documents on-hand. Make sure you have a copy of your resume, any previous examples of work, any certificates or licenses and any written letters of reference.
If your interviewer can feel your eagerness to learn and commit, they are likely to see you as a potential asset. It is crucial to be 5-10 minutes early. Before the interview, think about why you are excited by this position and what valuable things you would like to do for that business. Mention these visions of contribution throughout the interview, explaining this is why you are the right candidate.
Do your research
Nothing says professionalism like being well-researched. Before the interview, become familiar with the business’ mission statement and corporate values. View your potential employer’s LinkedIn profile and research the company’s social media pages. If available, reading the corporation’s blog articles is also an excellent way to become familiar with what they’re all about.
Throughout the interview, demonstrate you are interested in the business by alluding to this information, and align your skills with the corporate values. Upon the conclusion of the interview, always ask at least one relevant question which shows your attentiveness, such as inquiring about the business’ latest project which you may be involved in.