Making sure you prep for a job interview is crucial. Make sure that you read this article to get some help with your job search.
Some rules for interaction over the phone:
- Prepare in advance: Have your questions written out and whatever research materials about the person or their organization in front of you in case you need to refer to them in the conversation.
- Take notes using a pad and pen, rather than a computer: This only applies if you have a noisy keyboard like I do. You don’t want to be distracting your colleague on the other end of the phone with your typing.
- Plan to have it in a quiet place: Just because it is an “informal conversation” doesn’t mean you should treat it informally or with a lack of attention to detail. Don’t have it in a coffee shop, in line at the grocery store or while you are driving or on a train. If you don’t have a quiet place to have the call, either plan to go to the library and ask if you can use one of their study group rooms, which are often available, or reschedule the call altogether. Better to have a quiet discussion where the other party can hear you and you are showing respect than have your sister screaming in the background about when you are planning to walk the dog.
- If you are using a mobile phone, make sure that your device has excellent reception in the place you plan to make the call, and is 100% charged.
- If you plan to use the speaker phone option, do a practice call with your friend so you know that your voice comes across clearly on the other end of the phone. Otherwise use a headset so you have your hands free to jot down ideas.
- If the call drops, simply call the person back and apologize and continue with the discussion.
Rules of video calls and Skype
More and more informational interviews and even job interviews are taking place via video services like Skype and Facetime. Here are some tips to ensure you have a successful experience:
- Know what your webcam sees: Is there a pile of junk behind your head? Is there a poster of Star Trek Captain Janeway that would be both embarrassing and unprofessional to display? Practice with a friend so you know what actually shows up behind you and what you need to move away from the eye of the camera.
- Know how the camera sees you: Since I am very short, if I had a webchat with someone and I didn’t arrange my seat or camera in any specific way in advance, all the other party would see would be the top of my head. I have to sit on two dictionaries to ensure that my face is in view of the camera, and you should also determine exactly how you are seen. Similarly, you might have to sit a little closer or farther away.
- Wear professional clothing: You don’t have to wear a three piece suit and full makeup and jewelry, but you should look like you consider this meeting to be important and professional. So swap the tee-shirt for a nicely pressed shirt and jacket. Keep the colors solid—no patterns, as they might cause some distracting optical effects for the viewer. Since no one is looking at your legs, you can keep the pajama bottoms (just don’t stand up!). And as for accessories, stay as minimal as possible, because certain jewelry might also create a negative effect and distract the other party.
- Know how you sound: Watch your speaker/headset, and make sure, through a practice session with your pal, that you can both hear and be heard with clarity. If that means investing in a headset, do it.
- Don’t look at yourself: Maintain eye contact with the camera, not your gorgeous face. Remember this should feel like an in-person discussion. As such, the other party’s desire is to look you in the eyes (as is your goal with them). They don’t want to see you looking towards the bottom of your own screen, staring at your amazing face.
- It’s ok to take notes: Again I would go for a pad and pen versus a computer. And just as in a job interview, you can look down occasionally to take notes, but your focus should mostly be on the other party’s face.
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