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Telephone & Videoconference Interviews

Telephone interviews have become very common, particularly in the case of interviewing for summer employment in the public interest. In addition an increasing number of private sector employers have found telephone and videoconferencing to be an effective use of time and financial resources.

For the substantive part of the interview, you should prepare just as you would for an in-person interview, with adequate research and practice. One added preparation piece for a phone or videoconference interview that cannot be overstated is the importance of testing the technology ahead of time. With a videoconference, be sure your voice and image comes through clearly on the screen and that you are comfortable with how you will appear on the employer’s side. With a phone interview test your speaker phone if you intend to use it, and when possible use a land line phone to ensure a strong connection.

With a videoconference you still have the benefit of seeing your interviewer, and although questions asked during a phone interview will be similar to those asked in-person, the dynamics of the interview do change when you are not able to see the interviewer. Therefore a few additional preparation tips should be kept in mind for phone interviews.
  • Turn call-waiting off so your call isn't interrupted.
  • Clear the room of other people and pets. Turn off the stereo, TV and close the door.
  • Keep your resume in clear view, on the top of your desk, so it's at your fingertips when you need to answer questions.
  • Don't eat or drink during the interview.
  • Smile, as it will change the tone of your voice.
  • Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
  • Don't interrupt the interviewer.
  • Take your time - it's perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to collect your thoughts.
  • Give concise answers.