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 current physical distancing guidelines, this isn’t 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 some top tips to help.

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 haven’t done an interview like this before or haven’t used any of the technology, don’t 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.

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.  

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 don’t want any messages popping up during the interview 
  • Close any tabs you have open on your computer – you don’t want to be distracted or for the employer to see these if you share your screen

Research and prepare for interview questions

It’s important to remember that you’ll need to prepare in the same way as you would with 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 interview questions, including an interview tool.  

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:  

  • Make sure your phone, laptop or tablet is fully charged and you sign in to any software required – have it all set up ready to go before your interview so that you can 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 won’t have any distractions or interruptions 
  • Have a pen and paper handy to take notes 
  • 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 
  • Don’t 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 don’t 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