Your Career, Your Choices

How to master the telephone or Skype interview

When time is a factor for employers, many use phone or Skype interviews as a means of sifting through the candidates, before inviting a chosen few to a personal interview. This requires a little more preparation on your part, but with the right approach, you can still make a virtual impression, writes SABINA TRENCH, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers.

Plan ahead - it is important to make sure that you organise the technology for your phone or Skype interview. Ideally, a landline is preferable, but if you are using a mobile phone, make sure you have good coverage and switch off call waiting in both cases.

When it comes to Skype interviews, check that the wi-fi or internet is working, and I recommend that you test the quality of the connection ahead of time.

A quiet corner - where are you going to take the call or Skype? You must make absolutely certain there will be no interruptions during your interview. This means a quiet place that away from any noises and distractions. For Skype, make sure that you have a plain wall in the background; no one needs to see your messy bedroom.

Pets, kids, partners and house mates should all be sent out, or at the very least, quietly occupied elsewhere. Oh, and make sure that the TV is off, not on mute, off!

Energy - as you are not meeting the person face-to-face, the quality of the communication will be compromised somewhat. Therefore, it is your job to be animated and bring a good level of energy to the remote interaction.

If you are speaking on the phone, it can be a useful strategy to stand for the call and even move around while you are speaking. This can communicate energy and enthusiasm. A smile can be heard in your voice, so remember to smile while you speak. Even write ‘smile’ on a post-it as a reminder.

For the Skype call, it is easier to be as animated as you would be in a face-to-face interview.

If your interview is early in the morning, make sure you are up and active well before the agreed time. No one wants to get the impression that you have just crawled out of bed.

Notes - if you are taking a call, you could prepare a one-pager to have by your side with four or five points to get across in the interview. Keep the note simple though, as you definitely don’t want to have to shuffle through pages or try to read large amounts of text while talking.

You could also use a note under your computer for the Skype interview; again just five big words on a page should keep you on track.

Personal presentation - obviously, no one can see on the end of the phone, but I don’t recommend doing a phone interview in your pyjamas. Being smartly dressed can give you confidence, and when it comes to the jobs market, you should use everything in your arsenal to give you the edge.

For Skype interviews, dress as you would if you were attending for interview in an office. As they say ‘dress the part...get the part’.

Telephone and Skype interviews are challenging, but follow the steps above to give yourself the best chance of success.

Sli Nua Careers (www.SliNuaCareers.com ) have offices in Galway (Patricia Maloney, 091 528883 ), Mayo (Ballinrobe, Claremorris and Westport ), Limerick, Sligo, Enniscrone and Athlone. Their services include CV preparation, interview training, job-searching strategies, public speaking and presentation skills, and career direction. For more details, visit www.slinuacareers.com/galway

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