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How to Ace a Phone, Skype, or Zoom Interview in 2020

An interview allows two or more parties to interact through an exchange of information. The interviewer and interviewee learn about and obtain the information they need from each other.

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Why conduct interviews?

An interview may be conducted to obtain information from experts. It may intend to clarify facts on current issues, feature stories, and give the audience a different perspective about an event or a situation for broadcast.

Most commonly, interviews are conducted to allow a company to assess a candidate’s suitability for the job. Applicants that are asked questions are expected to provide truthful answers regarding their competencies and experience. As an applicant, you would want to know whether the job is right for you or not.

A job interview must be conducted in a way that benefits the interviewer as well! Interviews help prevent hiring mistakes and reduce recruitment expenses. It is through interviews that recruiters get a glimpse of a candidates’ skills and know-how—and decide whether or not to hire them.

Regardless of its purpose, an interview is mostly set with a sense of urgency. Each interview is timed and scheduled, so interviewees face the challenge of coming up with well-put-together and well-thought-out statements. Similarly, interviewers must ask the right questions.

Explore this article using these page jumps:

Interview Methods
Skype and Zoom Set New Trends
Nailing That Job Interview
Be A Pro During Media Interviews
Expecting the Unexpected

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Interview Methods

Interviews are typically conducted through the phone, in person, or online. Face-to-face job interviews have been used for the longest time. By seeing the interviewee in the flesh, interviewers take non-verbal cues and behavior as a crucial factor. Candidates, on the other hand, get the chance to see their prospective workplace.

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While some businesses and individuals still go for in-person interviews, face-to-face conversations are being replaced by convenient and inexpensive methods. In the recruitment landscape, for example, phone interviews save company resources and reduce interview anxiety. Interviewers would rather spend less on call fees than expend resources and time with the in-person interview technique. In this regard, phone interviews are usually seen as a cost-effective option.

The emergence of new technologies has made interviewing a lot easier (and in many ways, cheaper) without compromising the results. Today, we have programs like Skype and Zoom for video conferencing at our disposal!

A massive advantage of using video conferencing for interviews is that for much less time and resources, it lets you answer in the same way as you would face-to-face or through a phone interview. It helps you express yourself by showing facial cues and body gestures for the interviewer or the audience to understand you.

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Skype has been around for more than 17 years and has helped conduct successful interviews throughout the globe. Skype allows you to schedule your interview, record the interview proper, and share screens—on high-definition quality. It comes in free and paid versions, and requires an easy set-up.

The popularity of similar platform Zoom has skyrocketed in recent months. It features recordable live video chats, as well as screen or document sharing, among as many as 100 participants in one session.

Both Skype and Zoom can be run across desktops, mobile devices, or room systems. And as most of the world shelters in place, video conferencing has never been more prevalent!

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Nailing That Job Interview

Are you usually nervous before a job interview? Most people are, but you should remember that no trick in the world can guarantee a perfect interview. You can, however, make the interview work for you!

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If you are getting ready for a job interview, then keep reading. Here are some tips and techniques on how to nail a job interview through the phone or web conferencing:

Do your research.

Nothing can be more off-putting than an unprepared interviewee! Be as informed as you possibly can by checking out the company’s website, social media, or press releases. Some companies have LinkedIn profiles that you can check for connections, job postings, and company statistics. Be sure to understand company goals and how you can contribute to reaching them. Know their services, products, or current projects.

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This knowledge will help you answer what could be one of the most common and important questions: the “why” behind your desire to become part of the organization.

Prepare for possible questions.

Prepare for the interview by creating a checklist for possible questions. List down the possible questions and prepare answers based on the duration of the interview.

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The basics:

Assure the interviewer that you are a good fit for the job. Tell anecdotes that highlight your skills and experiences relating to the job while revealing your personality to them.

Keep an enthusiastic, conversational tone.

Unlike video conferencing that shows your body language, phone interviews take only the tone of your voice into account. This is a vital element in having a successful phone interview. A lack of enthusiasm in your voice would send a wrong message to the interviewer. Do you sound thrilled to be interviewed? Do you sound like you can’t wait to get it done and over with?

Your answers are just as important as your tone. Keep them short but sincere and substantial, as opposed to making them sound rehearsed.

Eliminate distractions and background noises.

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Keep yourself as comfortable as possible during the interview; it’s the only way for you to talk with confidence and take the right pacing for pauses and breaths. Slouching or lying down during a phone interview is a no-no; it can cause physical discomfort! Also, your interviewers may not see you but you should keep it professional regardless.

If you’ve scheduled the interview at a time when family members or friends are at home, ask them to give you privacy for the period of the interview. Find a quiet spot to sit down or stand on. Cut all distractions by turning the TV or radio off and setting your phone to silent mode. Interviewers can tell when you are distracted by how quickly or slowly you answer their questions.

Did you know that you can blur your background using Skype or create a virtual background with Zoom? These options keep your interviews professional and focused on you—no one wants to see what your room looks like!

Take notes.

Keep notes and other materials needed for the interview within your reach, and jot down what you need to! Listen and focus on the critical points, such as the names and titles of your interviewer, vital information about the company or job, your impression on the interviewer, and how the interview process was. If you are scheduled for a second interview or promised to give additional information after the fact, write that down, too.

Ask questions.

An interview, particularly that which pertains to hiring, is a two-way street. Asking questions shows how serious and interested you are in the job. . Preparing these smart and relevant questions before the interview works wonders.

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But don’t just ask any questions! Ask to clarify or get more information that you need to make a decision should you be considered for the job. You would want to know how they treat employees, evaluate performances, or set career paths. Ask about the workplace environment and the team that you are likely to be a part of.

While you’d love to get to know your future employer, never interrupt them during the interview process. Shoot those questions at them when it’s your turn to ask!

Post-interview: you’re being watched!

A great interview may not be enough to get you in! Remember it is unbecoming to divulge sensitive information on the interview that was just completed—especially when you don’t have the final results yet! Conduct yourself in a positive and professional manner after the interview.

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Be A Pro During Media Interviews

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If you are contacted by the media or anyone who seeks your opinion or expertise and formally feature you in a story, you need to be prepared for a phone, Skype or Zoom interview as well! Some media interviews are conducted to give the audience a background story or simply educate people about past or current issues. Interviews of this type are usually recorded, edited, and made ready for broadcast, but some are taken live and aired automatically on radio or television.

If you own a business or you’re a practicing professional, media interviews help establish your credibility and get the word about your organization out there. A wrong gesture or some uncertainty in your answer can make or break your career, so be prepared!

Even the best subject matter experts or business executives that possess extensive knowledge about specific issues and topics may not be adept at media interviews. They prepare themselves so they appear and sound trustworthy or convincing. Your appearance, voice, choice of words, and body language matter!

Some media personalities can be intimidating even to the most experienced interviewees, so the interview can be a nerve-wracking one, as opposed to it being a fun and relaxed conversation.

So, how do you ace this kind of interview?

Agreeing to appear on an interview means you are willing to do your homework. The quality of the interview will depend on how well you prepare for it.

Here are some quick pointers:

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  • Familiarize. Watch their past interviews conducted by the reporter or the media outlet. Check their website or social media.
  • Get information. Ask for details of the interview: What is the story is about? Who is the primary audience? What type of show or program is hosting the interview? Will it be live or pre-recorded?
  • Rehearse. Rehearsing does not guarantee you wouldn’t make a mistake, but it does take you to the many possible scenarios, particularly during a live interview. Don’t over-rehearse, though; you don’t want to end up sounding unnatural and scripted! Be real and give answers you want your audience to remember about you and your organization.
  • Record and listen to yourself. This will help you practice your breathing, gaze, posture, and confidence. Speak confidently to give the reporter and your audience time to process and understand what you’re saying.
  • Don’t forget you are always “ON” the record. Whether the interview is done through a phone or web conferencing, don’t say anything that you’ll regret later on. Be honest, even if you are confronted with questions that are difficult to answer. State something you won’t mind being quoted saying it.
    Here’s a tip: Don’t say anything official off the record; chitchats are rich information sources! Interview topics sometimes go off-tangent. If you are able to, lead the conversation in the direction that points to the topic at hand. Get back on track by saying phrases like, “on that topic…” or “in relation to that…”
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  • When answering, don’t go around in circles. When unsure about a particular topic, give the information that you know and back it up. There are limits to your knowledge, no matter how much of an expert you are! Similarly, state your point in a friendly and factual manner no matter how uncomfortable the question may be. Make your interview interesting by talking with passion and sincerity.
  • Be concise. Be sure to give answers by being concise and not making long-winded statements that will ruin the main point of your answer. Clear and concise answers mean they do not involve jargon that the audience does not know. You can carefully select facts and figures to sort out and emphasize your key messages. A good bullet point list of topics should come in handy. But of course, don’t get so consumed by it!
  • Choose your outfit. If the interview is set for video conferencing, think about your appearance in front of the camera. Your outfit should be based on what and who you are representing. Ask the producer or crew for some tips and advice on your outfit. The outfit you choose will help you feel confident and comfortable throughout the interview.
  • Pick the right background visuals. No one wants to see you looking like a “floating head” on the screen. The camera captures wide angles, so whether you are at home or the office, make sure that your background is free from clutter, food and beverages, piles of clothes, and things that shouldn’t be there.

Expecting the Unexpected

Even the most frequently interviewed industry experts struggle with public speaking or interview anxiety. It’s a valid feeling because there’s no telling what could happen!

Case in point is BBC News’s video interview of American political analyst Robert Kelly. While talking about politics and the economy, Kelly was interrupted by his daughter who casually and happily rolled in, followed by another infant in a walker. Shortly, his wife slid herself into the room ninja-style, frantically looking for the kids and leading them out of the room.

The hilarious video, which currently has 39 million views on YouTube, is a timeless reminder of how such blunders can happen in video conferencing and interviews to just about anyone!

It’s the perfect example of how finding the best spot for an interview shouldn’t be taken for granted. Your home office isn’t insusceptible to interruptions, so keep that door closed! It is best to handle unexpected situations professionally as well and keep your composure regardless of the chaos.

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Being interviewed, whether for a job or the news media, is an impressive achievement but it takes work to make it work for you! You need to be knowledgeable, but that’s not all there is to it! It will get your name and organization out there. Ultimately, just being able to enjoy the interview is the most critical part of the process.

Good luck with your interview! Crush it!