YMCA Employment Programs

How to ace your video or phone job interview

13 April 2020 - by YMCA of Greater Toronto
Part of the “new normal” for all of you job seekers out there might be interviewing for jobs remotely, by phone or video. The good news is, plenty of employers have been using these alternatives to face-to-face interviews for years, so our YMCA employment experts have lots of practice prepping people for them.

Here are their top tips to help you ace your next virtual interview and land that new job!

1. Prepare your tech

A few days before your interview, check your phone reception or internet service to make sure it’s stable. There’s nothing worse than having your perfect answer cut off by a dropped call or failed wifi connection! Don’t forget to clean your camera to remove smudges that will blur your picture.

2. Reduce fear of the unknown

Using a new system or piece of technology can add stress to the already stressful interview experience because you feel like you don’t know what to expect. Reduce that stress by figuring out your tech in advance: download any software or apps you’ll need, test meeting invite links, thoroughly read instructions, and make sure your video and sound are working.

3. Find the perfect “meeting” spot

If you’re going to be on camera, try not to do your interview in your bedroom if possible. Sit in a chair with a clean, well-lit space behind you, and find some privacy! Family members, roommates, and pets should not be in the room or background. If you’ll be on the phone, you should still do your interview from a table or your desk, not a couch or bed, so you can get in a professional mindset.

4. Dress for the occasion

Choose an outfit and present yourself for a video interview just like you would for an in-person interview. Wear clean, professional clothing, and make your whole outfit interview-appropriate in case you need to stand up. Even if you'll be on the phone and your interviewer can't see you, dress professionally anyway. It will inspire confidence and professionalism, which will come across in your answers and your voice.

5. Bring the same resources you would for an in-person interview

Have your resume, notes, paper, and a pen in front of you. You'll look organized if you’re on video, and whether you’re on the phone or the camera, you’ll be ready to reference your accomplishments or write down important info the interviewer is sharing.

6. “Arrive” early

Be ready to go at least ten minutes before your scheduled interview time. That means waiting by your phone or computer, with all notifications (other than those you need for the interview) turned off. You want to be prepared in case they call a few minutes early!

7. Practice calming techniques 

We get it: interviews can be stressful! But since you're not meeting face-to-face, you have the advantage of being able to do some calming exercises right before your interview starts. While you wait, try closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths to relax.

8. Maintain positive body language

Body language is just as important in a video interview as it is in person. Make sure you smile, sit up straight, and avoid crossing your arms or leaning on your table. Look directly into the camera; if you look at the screen, it will make it seem like you’re looking down, not at the interviewer. And if you’re on the phone, practice positive body language anyway; even though your interviewer can’t see you, it will put you in an interview mindset and make you feel professional and confident.

9. Book your phone line

Try to book phone interviews on your own dedicated phone line, if possible. If you need to do the interview on a shared phone, ask any others who have access to it to avoid using the line for at least ten minutes before your scheduled time. Make sure you answer the call, not a family member or roommate, and make sure no one else picks up the line while you’re interviewing.

10. Stay focused

No matter the medium, stay focused on the interview just like you would if you were meeting in person. Don't make noises that will distract your interviewer, such as typing. And don't multi-task, or you won't give your best answers.

Even though our YMCA Employment centres are currently closed, our team is still here for you! We can help you prep for your next interview remotely, for free. Set up an appointment with one of our experts today.


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