Ask a CM!

Hello everyone!

This week’s question is: What can I do to prepare for a phone/video interview?

That is a great question! Phone and video interviews are typically used as a screening interview to find the most qualified applicants to move forward with. These interviews are typically 15-45 minutes long, unless they are done later in the hiring process, then they are more likely to be 45 minutes to an hour. Video interviewing can be done on Skype, Zoom, Myinterview, Spark Hire, etc. With everyone social distancing and working from home, phone/video interviewing is becoming more commonly used for later stages of the interviewing process.

Here is a few tips for a phone or video interview:

  1. Make sure you have a strong internet connection
    • If your internet cuts out in the middle of an interview it can be embarrassing and difficult to maintain your professionalism. Try to practice using the platform for a video interview or test your phone service before the actual interview. Feel free to reach out the Career and Advising Center to test your internet connection and quality by doing a practice call with us.
  2. Find a quiet space with no distractions
    • Your noisy dorm room is probably not the best place to have your interview. You will want to try and find a space where there won’t be a lot of people/animals/children around that can distract you or the employer!
  3. Find a space that has a nice background behind you
    • Having an appropriate plain background will make sure the attention is on you and not your surroundings!
  4. Practice your camera angles
    • The way you have your camera angled can change a lot about your appearance. Make sure that you are looking at the camera lens. You can set your laptop on a box or a stack of books to get the camera to be more eye level. This way the employer feels like you are actually looking at them and maintaining eye contact!
  5. Practice using your microphone
    • If you are choosing to use headphones, make sure that you can hear the employer and the employer can hear you. It is always a good idea to practice with the “test mic” feature or ask a friend before your actual interview.
  6. Dress professionally, even if it isn’t a video interview
    • If you are in your pajamas for a phone interview you might not be in the proper mindset. Wearing what you would to an in-person interview can help you feel more confident and prepared!
  7. It is okay to have a note sheet, but don’t have too much written down
    • Even though an employer can’t see what you have in front of you, they can tell if you have a scripted answer. If you prepared ahead of time and practiced questions, you shouldn’t need more than a few notes written down to make sure you include everything you wanted. If you write down too much you may get confused if the interviewer asks a question you weren’t expecting. P.S. Write down your questions for the employer, just like you would for an in-person interview!
  8. Lastly, you can practice a phone/video interview at the Career and Advising Center!
    • We can do a mock interview with you virtually! If you need a panel of people, one on one, phone, or video, we can do it all! We have a mock interview request form on our website, so you can give us more details about your upcoming interview and schedule a time that works best for you to meet with one of our Career Coaches!

That concludes this week’s blog. Please write your questions on the lower, right side of the main page of our website!

I will be answering them every Friday. Ask any question you like, no question is too small!

Signing Off,


By Andrea Richard
Andrea Richard Graduate Career Mentor