Interview Settings

When it comes to interviews, phone and/or video or Skype interviews often precede in-person meetings. Here are a few things to consider as you prepare.

  • Plan ahead. Especially if meeting by phone or Skype, agree upon a date and time when you can minimize distractions. 
  • Know who you're talking with. Phone or Skype interviews may be with HR representatives or department managers. 
  • Understand their goal. Their goal is to probe your skills and career goals (and sometimes salary expectations). 

Video/Skype Interviews

  • Tip Sheet for Skype InterviewsArrive early. Connect to the site to familiarize yourself with the connection process.
  • Make connections. Establish eye contact and speak directly into the camera. Convey the same enthusiasm and confidence that you would if the meeting was face to face.
  • Minimize distractions. Avoid interruptions and background noise from papers, cell phones or movement. The microphone may be very sensitive. 
  • Stage your background. Dress to impress and ensure that the background the interviewer will see is not distracting.

Phone Interviews

  • Dress in your interview attire. Stand up or walk around the room to project your voice and enthusiasm.
  • Take a deep breath. Do this before picking up the phone so that you don’t hyperventilate or quicken your pace.
  • Avoid up-talk. This is where you answer questions with an upward inflection so that answers sound like questions.
  • Listen carefully. Avoid interrupting the interviewer.  

In-person Interviews

Interview logistics run the gamut. Your interview may be held at the organization's site, at a restaurant or elsewhere. You may meet with one person or with a panel. You may be asked to return over several days to meet with key decision-makers, or have multiple interviews in one day. If you are running late, call the interviewer right away. If you arrive early, be aware that your interview begins the moment you arrive. 

Timeline for 30-Minute Interviews

First 2 – 3 minutes:

  • Introductions. The recruiter may ask “How are you today?”
  • Setting the course. Next the interviewer may review the interview plan. 

Next 10 – 15 minutes:

Last 5 – 10 minutes:

  • Showcase research. Expect to hear, “Do you have any questions for me?” This is when you can show your research.
  • Reference notes. Bring a list of questions and use this chance to learn more. 

Wrapping up:

  • Show appreciation. Thank the interviewer, reiterate your interest and ask for a business card so that you can send a thank you.
  • Define next steps. Ask about the next stepsif they have not been addressed.