Abigail Stevens, founder and managing director of Think Global Recruitment, says telephone and video conference interviews need not be scary if you know how.
We're all familiar with the formalities of going for a job interview, but how does that change when the role you're going for is based overseas? Imagine not being in the same room as the interviewer or not being able to shake their hand? Whether you want to work in the UK, Bermuda, Russia or the Middle East, there are some important steps you can follow to make the process a little easier.
Video conferencing can be a great way for you to make an impact on a future employer and for them to get a sense of what you are capable of.
You can express enthusiasm, focus and commitment better than you could in a telephone interview. You can also respond more directly to questions.
The following tips can help to make your video conference a success:
· Practise: Practise at home with a camcorder so you can see if you have any off-putting habits such as touching your hair or putting your hand over your mouth. Think about the best position to sit in that looks professional and friendly but is still comfortable for you.
· The outfit: Dress as you would if you were going to a face-to-face interview. Avoid light colours or patterns, as it may be difficult for the camera to focus.
· Body language and eye contact: Maintain eye contact. Treat the interview as a normal conversation, keep your head up and try to remain natural. Be aware of your body language. Keep your hand and body movements to a minimum and make sure you're sitting in a comfortable position. Jerky or rapid movements can look distorted on a video monitor. Equally, and as with any face-to-face interview, smile, be enthusiastic and ask questions.
· Don't rush: Even with the most sophisticated video conferencing technology there will be slight time delays. Leave lots of pauses before talking to allow all your words to be relayed to the interviewer.
It can be harder to make a good first impression (or any first impression) in a telephone interview, where a potential employer can't see you. Telephone interviews test your verbal communication skills and telephone technique, as well as your ability to cope with the unexpected.
The same rules apply for a telephone interview as they would a video conference; however, follow these simple tips to make telephone interviewing stress-free.
· Tone of voice: This is the most important aspect of the telephone interview. Sound interested, energetic and enthusiastic. Keep your answers brief; don't be tempted to waffle or use jargon.
· Contact number: Provide a landline telephone number instead of a mobile. Make sure you have a contact number for the interviewer in case you do not receive the call when expected.
· Are you sitting comfortably? Answer the phone personally. If there are other people there, warn them that you are expecting the call and don't want to be interrupted. Ensure you are in a quiet location. It's important to have a comfortable chair and to sit up straight; it will make you feel more confident. Project your voice and make sure your hands are not covering your mouth.
· No nibbling: Don't chew gum, smoke, eat or nibble your pen. It can be very distracting for the interviewer.
· Listen carefully: You're at a disadvantage as you can't read their body language, so try to pick up on verbal cues. Make positive affirmations, don't talk over the interviewer but show that you're listening. If the interviewer stops talking or doesn't come in as soon as you finish an answer, don't worry. They are probably taking notes. Ask "would you like me to expand on that further?" if you're unsure whether they are expecting you to carry on talking.
In both cases, think about what you want to achieve from the interview and how you see yourself fitting into the company you're interviewing with. Video and telephone interviews are by no means a substitute for face-to-face interviews, so show your enthusiasm and impress the interviewer so that they will take your job application to the next level.