How to prepare for a video or telephone interview

Published: 7 November 2016

In an ever shrinking World and against a backdrop of austerity and budget challenges, the request to undertake an initial telephone or video based interview is becoming increasingly more common. It’s also used to help speed up the process or to introduce you to key members of the business based internationally.

It’s vital that you prepare and approach a video/telephone interview in the same professional manner you would do for a traditional face to face interview.

Things to consider:

  • Check the arrangements –who is calling who and at what time – are there any differences in the time zones?
  • For a Video/Skype or similar interview format, you are typically required to create a username – ensure this is a straight forward professional one and not your nickname from your school days, etc.
  • If you have the benefit of working from home, ensure you are in a quiet part of the house, away from any distractions or noises – if the doorbell or landline rings is there someone else present that can deal with it?
  • Where will you be when the video call takes place? Think about what the interviewer can see in the background
  • What should you wear?– First impressions made on a video call are just the same as those made in person - ensure you are dressed in business attire, regardless if you are working from home. 
  • For a video interview, do you have a strong enough and stable broadband or 4G connection? Equally for a telephone based interview conducted via a mobile – are you in an area with a good connection – trying to do this whilst on a train is a recipe for disaster.
  • If this is a system you don’t use that often, ensure that you test it in advance of the interview, the interviewer is likely to use this system a lot. Ask a friend or family member to run through a trial call with you, test both receiving and making a call. Is the camera of sufficient quality and is the room well lit?
  • Most importantly, be prepared. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking a video interview means a more casual discussion, they will be just as probing and demanding as in a face to face interview.

Do your prep and ensure that the interviewer remembers you for all the right reasons and not because of your overzealous barking dog or the questionable photos of you in the background.

Richard Guest is a Consultant in the Procurement and Supply Chain Practice

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