Appendix C: Tips for Long-Distance Interviews

Sarah Ladd

Telephone interviews in particular have their own challenges; lack of eye contact and the inability to read the body language of your interviewers, for example. But there are also advantages; if the interviewer cannot see you, you can have one sheet of paper with quick notes on it to help you with your answers. But be careful – more than one page of notes and you might be caught rustling the pages or get distracted trying to find something you wrote. For any kind of long-distance interview, here are some general recommendations to follow:

  • Dress professionally, so that you feel confident and composed.
  • Smile (especially for phone interviews, as your voice will have a more uplifted quality to it than if you are not smiling).
  • Make eye contact with the camera, not the screen, for Skype/video interviews.
  • Test your phone or video conference tools with a friend before the interview to make sure all of your technology works correctly.
  • Ensure that you have a quiet, private space to conduct your interview where you will not be interrupted or distracted.

When you have finished answering a question during a phone interview, you might be met with silence. During an in-person interview, you would see that the interviewers are busy writing down notes about your answer, but on the phone, you cannot see what they are doing. Do not feel pressured to keep talking. Instead, count out approximately four to five seconds in your head, and then if there is still silence, politely ask “Would you like more information or do you need a moment to take notes?”

The questions you will be asked in a phone or video interview will be the same as those the employer would ask during an in-person interview. Prepare yourself just as you would for an in-person interview, by practising all of the other techniques taught in this textbook.

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