5 Tips for a Successful Phone or Virtual Interview

  • Posted by: Tina Dugas

Virtual interviews, that can even lead to virtual hires, have become the new norm. And they may likely be here to stay, saving companies time and money, and offering an efficient path to narrow the candidate pool to a top few. There are limitations, however, and understanding them ahead of time will help you to communicate effectively and to garner that next step in the interview process.

Revisit and Have Ready Access to Key Resource Materials
As you would before an in-person meeting, gather your resume, work examples, the job description and any other relevant materials prior to the conversation. Be ready to record or notate essential points or questions as they come to you.

Demonstrate Energy & Enthusiasm
Physical cues communicate your interest and warmth, so be certain to infuse your voice with enthusiasm. Establish a comfortable and noise-proof location, that is void of distractions for the call. Infuse personality, and don’t forget to smile while talking, which affects the quality of your voice in an energetic way. And if on a voice-only call, standing while you speak may help you stay more focused and upbeat.

Get to the End of the Thought
Be a good listener and an effective communicator. Pause before speaking so not to interrupt the interviewer’s thought, and to make sure you have a complete understanding of the question being posed. It’s easy to over talk, interrupt, and speak in incomplete sentences when visual cues are absent. But do your best to make sure your answers, examples and questions are clear and complete.

Don’t be Hesitant to Ask for an Alternate Time to Speak
Sometimes an interview may be spontaneous and/or not scheduled with great leeway. If you’re comfortable with that scenario, and confident that your homework has been done, go for it. But if not, do indicate a desire to be flexible and eager to speak, and suggest an alternative time be scheduled when you are in a place, mentally and physically, where you can fully engage.

Don’t Interview and Drive
This may seem like an obvious point to make, but taking the call while driving not only means your mind will be preoccupied, it’s also dangerous. You can’t control your environment and the ambient noise may be distracting to the interviewer. We can all tell when someone on the other end of the phone is multi-tasking, so give the call the weight of your full attention.

Remember that a phone or virtual interview should be approached with the same level of preparation, care and formality that you would give to an in-person meeting.  It’s also an opportunity to become acquainted with someone who may be a future colleague.  So enjoy the meeting!