Telephone Interview Tips
Pick a suitable location - this is really important. Avoid noisy, public spaces and instead opt for a private, quiet location such as your home. If you live with family or friends warn them in advance of the call that you need some peace. Minimise background noise by closing windows and turning off televisions or radios. Turn electronic devises to silent to avoid distraction.
Dress to impress - it may sound strange as the recruiter can't see you, but dress for an interview. You shouldn't treat telephone interviews any differently to face-to-face interviews and you wouldn't turn up to meet a potential employer in your pyjamas. Dressing for the part helps to put you in a professional frame of mind and will boost your confidence.
Stand up and smile - smile to ensure that the interviewer hears the enthusiasm in your voice from the start. To convey energy and confidence take the call standing up. At the very least make sure that you're sat upright at a table.
Refer to your notes sparingly - being able to have application documents and notes to hand is one of the main advantages of a telephone interview, but don't rely on them too heavily. The employer will hear if you're rustling papers and will be able to tell if you're reciting answers from pre-prepared notes. Instead of reams of paper use concise bullet points as prompts.
Have a glass of water nearby - interview nerves and lots of talking can lead to dry mouth, which isn't ideal when you're trying to eloquently express yourself.
Don't be afraid to ask for clarification - if you miss a particular question don't try to second guess what it might have been. Apologise and politely ask the interviewer if they can repeat it.
Take notes - if you're able to multitask jot down any useful information provided by the employer and the questions you're asked during the interview. These notes could be a valuable resource if you're invited for a second interview.
Video Interview Tips
COVID-19 is affecting the way businesses recruit new candidates. While a small number of business are still holding face-to-face interviews, the majority of organisations are unlikely to do so until the current social distancing restrictions come to an end. Because of this, it's now more important than ever to make sure that your telephone and video interview skills are up to scratch.
Read on to discover how to ace a video interview.
Research the format
It's vital that you know in advance what format the video interview will take, as the two main types are very different experiences.
Live - this is similar to a regular face-to-face interview. You'll speak to the interviewer (or panel of interviewers) in real-time over a video connection using a service such as Skype or Google Hangouts. Live videos enable employers to recreate the traditional interview format without requiring the candidate to travel to their office, meaning they can recruit from anywhere in world. Try to treat the conversation as you would an interview at the employer's offices and build a rapport with the interviewer.
Choose your location -Plan well in advance where you're going to do the video interview. Use a quiet location, where you won't be disturbed by noises and people. Make sure the room you choose is tidy and use a clean and simple background so that the recruiter focuses on you.
You need to think about the lighting as it won't be a great interview if you can't be properly seen. To ensure you don't get a shadow either use natural light from a window or put a lamp in front of the camera and adjust the distance to get the best result.
Close any software on your computer that might play notification sounds, and switch your phone to silent to guarantee you won't be distracted. Also, let everyone in the house know you're about to start the interview so they don't interrupt.
Dress appropriately -You may be at home but it's still a job interview and this is your opportunity to give a professional first impression - this means dressing appropriately. You should wear the same outfit you would have chosen for a face-to-face meeting with the employer. Think about how your clothes will look on screen and avoid busy patterns and stripes.
Use positive body language - It's best to avoid slouching, moving too much or touching your face. Instead employers will be looking for you to make good eye contact, smile, listen and take an interest in what they're saying. To help you do this your camera should be at eye level and you should look into it rather than at the screen.
For pre-recorded interviews, try to imagine you're speaking to a real person, maintaining your enthusiasm and positive body language. This can be harder to do when you're simply recording your answers.
If you're nervous it can be easy to rush what you're saying but remember that the employer wants to hear your answers. Speak clearly, and be careful not to interrupt as this is more easily done with the slight delay over the internet than during a face-to-face meeting.
Get technicalA few days before the interview you should test the computer, camera and any software that you've been asked to use. Make sure the picture is clear and the sound quality is good. It's also worth checking your internet connection.
On the day of the video interview ensure everything is fully charged or plugged in as you don't want the battery to run down. You don't want to be still sorting things out as the interview starts, so switch everything on at least half an hour before the interview and sign in to any software that you'll need.
If there are any technical hitches, for example if you can't hear the questions very well, don't struggle through as you won't put in your best performance. If it's a live video interview, mention the problem. It may easily be fixed, or the interviewer may be happy to end the call and redial.
Face to Face Interview Tips
Preparing for a face to face interview checklist
If you've got to the face to face interview stage, you need to make sure you've done all your interview preparation. Read our interview preparation checklist & tips to a successful interview below:
Make sure you know what type of interview it is - There are many different types of face to face interviews, and although it will usually be a sit down chat through your CV, it could be that you have to prepare a presentation, task, or interview with a panel. Ensure that you know how to master different types of interviews.
Prepare your answers to interview questions - Make sure you've gone through all types of questions that could be asked, including thinking up questions to ask employers in a job interview
Brush up on your graduate CV - It might seem obvious, but you need to know exactly what's on your graduate CV in order to talk about your skills & experience. For everything you've written on your CV, make sure you're able to speak in more detail about it in the interview
Dress for success - Pick out your interview outfit beforehand, so you're not stressing on the day. There are slightly different ways to dress depending on the type of interview - so again, do your research
Plan your commute - The last thing you want to be doing on the day of the face to face interview is stressing about being late; so plan how you're going to get to the interview well in advance, and remember to account for rush hour!
Use your face to face communication skills - The face to face interview is when the employer will decide if they think you’re right for the job, and the right fit within their company. But it’s also a chance for you to decide if you think you would want to work for their company.
A face to face interview is the perfect opportunity for you to show off your communication skills. Employers will be looking out for what you say, but also how well you answer their questions and how you communicate your response.
One of my top tips for interview is to make sure you speak clearly and try not to go off on tangents about things that aren’t relevant. You want to convey enthusiasm, sound upbeat and keen on the job role that’s being offered. If you want to know how to be successful in an interview, this starts with how well you communicate yourself, and demonstrate your relevant skills and experience.
Do your research - This one sounds obvious; but it’s surprising how many people neglect to do this when they are preparing for a face to face interview. Make sure you’ve read through the company’s website and have a few snippets of information about it ready to drop into the conversation – this might be case studies that you really liked, or a particular blog that resonated with you.
Not only does this show that you’re proactive, but it also shows that you really are interested in what the company does (and you’re not just applying to any graduate job). It’s also a good idea to research the employer too, so don’t be scared to look them up on LinkedIn.
When preparing for a face to face interview, make sure that you’ve also read the job description a number of times, and try to mention the requirements in your answers as much as possible. One of the best interview tips I can give is to do your preparation - make sure you've prepared your answers to common interview questions, too.
Use real-world examples in your answers to interview questions - You can almost guarantee that you’ll be given some situation-based competency interview questions, like ‘tell me about a time you had to deal with a stressful situation’.
These questions are your chance to shine and prove that you are suitable for the job, based on experience and skills you have gained in previous graduate jobs or through your education.
Make sure you prepare some examples for these sorts of interview questions and have some experiences to hand that you can talk about. For example, if you worked part-time while at university in a restaurant, you could talk about when you had to deal with stressful busy times in the restaurant and what you did to ensure full customer satisfaction.
As a rule, don’t ever say ‘I don’t know’ or ‘pass’. One of the best tips for interview is to ensure you're ready for all types of interview questions, and know how to an face interview head on.
Ask questions - At the end of a graduate job interview, an employer will always ask "Do you have any questions for me?" Your answer should always be ‘yes’ and you should always ask at least three questions. Some good questions to keep in your back pocket include:
‘What are the next steps?’
‘What’s your most and least favourite part of your job’
‘What’s your company culture like?’.
As a general rule, avoid asking basic questions like ‘Can I wear what I want to work?’, ‘What does your company do?’ and ‘How long until I’m promoted?’. Top tips for interview success, especially in a face to face interview, is to show you are engaged and interested; asking the employer interview questions is a great way to demonstrate this.
Wear a smart interview outfit - Unless an interviewer tells you that it’s okay to dress casually for an interview, you should always make sure that you’re dressed smartly. This is the first time that an interviewer will see you, and you want to make the right impression.
Looking sloppy or like you haven’t made any effort will give the wrong impression straight away. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just an outfit that looks clean, smart and tidy. You only need one outfit that you can wear to any graduate job interview.
This is one of my top tips for interviews - never underestimate the power of a first impression!
Be yourself in a face to face interview - My final top tip for interviews; you’ve made it this far because the company likes you and your experience, so it’s really important to be yourself.
It might also be the only time you meet those in the company face to face before starting the job, so you want them to buy into the authentic version of you, rather than a fake, interview-only version.
Then, if you don’t get on, you know it’s not going to be the right job for you anyway - and there are plenty of other graduate jobs out there. Going into a face to face interview with this knowledge should help to reassure you that you don't have to try and be someone you're not; this is one of the most important tips for a job interview.