How to prepare for video and phone interviews

3 mins

Video and phone interviews are becoming more common.

You’d normally get a chance to meet your potential employer in person. But with more and more companies moving to home working, this is not always possible.

Whether you already have a video or phone interview lined up or are starting your job search and want to be prepared – we’ve pulled together 5 top tips to help.

1. Understand the interview format

It’s important to be clear on how the interview will be carried out. Will it be over the phone or using video through something like Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams?

If you have not done an interview like this before or have not used any of the technology, do not panic – you can find step-by-step instructions online.

The employer might also give you more specific details or instructions to follow. Make sure you familiarise yourself with these beforehand so that you’re prepared on the day. If you have any questions about the technology, it’s a good idea to get in touch with them.

2. Practice using your technology

Make sure you test your sound and picture quality. It’s important that the employer can hear and see you clearly.

If it’s a video interview, avoid having bright lights or windows in the background – this can make it difficult for the employer to see you. Always try and have the source of light in front of you.  

It’s a good idea to record yourself or test with a friend to make sure everything is working. If you have a headset or headphones, try using these to see if they make a difference to your sound quality.  

3. Prepare your interview set-up

There are a few simple things you can do when setting up: 

  • make sure you are in a quiet place and there is no noise in the background 
  • make sure you have a tidy background 
  • switch off your email and social media notifications and put your phone on silent - you do not want any messages popping up during the interview 
  • close any tabs you have open on your computer – you do not want to be distracted or for the employer to see these if you share your screen

4. Research and prepare for interview questions

It’s important to remember that you’ll need to prepare in the same way as you would for a face-to-face interview.  

Research the company and think about examples that showcase your transferable skills and any relevant experience.  

Be familiar with your CV or application form. Think about any talking points and questions you want to ask. 

We have more advice on how to prepare for your interview and our virtual interview tool for you to practice your interviewing skills. 

5. On the day of your interview

You’ve done all the preparation. Here are a few top tips to make sure it all runs smoothly on the day.

Before your interview starts:

  • make sure your phone, laptop or tablet is fully charged
  • sign in to any software required – having it all set up before your interview will help you relax knowing there will be no last minute technical problems 
  • dress like you would for a face-to-face interview, be smart and wear something you feel confident in 
  • make sure you’re sitting somewhere where you will not have any distractions or interruptions 
  • have a pen and paper handy to take notes 

During your interview:

  • think about eye contact, look directly at the camera 
  • the more prepared you are, the more relaxed you’ll feel - this confidence will come over in your voice 
  • do not rely on reading from notes, the employer will know from your voice and lack of eye contact  
  • there can sometimes be a short time delay with technology, wait a moment to make sure the interviewer has finished what they’re saying before you respond so that you do not interrupt them 
  • if you do have technical problems on the day, apologise and tell the employer - they may be able to help or rearrange your interview to allow some of the problems to be sorted out