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The workplace: telephone/video interviews

Karen Young explains how you can succeed at a telephone or video interview

June 2015

As a PQ establishing your accountancy career you will normally gain plenty of experience of face-to-face interviews. However, telephone and video interviews are less common these days so it is even more important to prepare and rehearse so you do the best you can.

Preparing for a telephone or video interview should be very similar to any other interview, but to make sure you donít have any embarrassing technical difficulties some extra preparation is a good idea. A good recruitment consultant will help you prepare for the interview and advise you on the kind of questions you are likely to be asked, but most importantly, donít get caught out by technology. Test your connection and video software plenty of time beforehand by making some practice calls to check sound and picture quality.
For video interviews dress formally, even if you are doing the interview from your living room. You should dress as you would to go to an employerís head office and find a tidy, uncluttered place to do the interview. If you are working with a recruiter you may even be invited to do the interview from their offices.

Rehearse using the hardware and software you will use for the interview. Appearing on screen can feel awkward, so if you donít regularly use the software have a few practice runs to get used to it. Look at the camera to make eye contact with the interviewer and avoid the temptation to look at your own image on the screen. Remember to smile too, it goes a long way to building rapport and while you may not think it, can be recognised even down a phone line.
Listen to the questions your interviewer is asking you. There may be a delay over video calling or network connection and if you get stuck on a question, ask if you can move on and come back to this when you have gathered your thoughts. Silences can be difficult when you arenít in the same room so try to avoid them.
During a telephone or video interview, it can be more difficult to show the usual body language that demonstrates you are listening and shows you are interested and enthusiastic, so be sure to convey this in what you say. Asking questions is always positive and have a couple up your sleeve.

Remain professional
Remaining professional, staying relaxed and keeping calm will help you to answer the questions accurately. Where telephone and video interviews may cause a delay in conversation, ensure your interviewer has finished their question to stop any confusion and keep your interview on track. You can help with this too, by ensuring your answers are clear and concise.
However well prepared you are remember that there may be instances beyond your control when using technology and video calling software or telephones that can disrupt the call, break signal or loose connection. In this instance, it is best to start the call again to regain a connection, and quickly contact your interviewer to update them so you can all continue with the interview as soon as possible.
For more information and access to job opportunities visit www.hays.co.uk/accountancy
ē Karen Young, Director, Hays Accountancy & Finance

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