How to Prepare for a Phone Interview

How to Prepare For a Phone or Video Interview?

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Being at job interviews can be nerve-racking and there isn’t much difference if you are attending the interview at an office or at the comfort of your own home. The good part of doing it at home and via phone or video interview is that it does save time and resources from traveling. Preparing for a video interview will take up more time than average as the technical parts such as webcam, lighting, Internet connection, the background of choice are some of the things that candidates need to consider before getting into the interview itself.

Managing Physical Appearance

Eye Contact

Making eye contact during an interview is important especially when talking to the interviewer via video call. Be sure to adjust your monitor and the position of your webcam depending on where you face the screen. To avoid having you looking down or away on-screen, resizing and shifting the window with the person’s video image is vital. Move up as close to your webcam as possible. This will provide you with the closest view of physical human eye contact.

You will need to consider what is the difference between a good eye contact and a bad one. Conducting a video call interview can be slightly awkward at first but rest assured you will get the hang of it. The rule of thumb in making eye contact is that it should be no less than five seconds at a time. Look away briefly and then reconnect back.


Projecting a smile indicates that you are confident and enthusiastic during the interview but it can also be assumed as being nervous. The purpose of smiling is to indicate that you are a person that is pleasant to work with and have a good social awareness. Be careful not to overdo it. This is to avoid it coming out as creepy or viewed as not taking the interview seriously.

Remain Steady and Calm

When an individual gets nervous they tend to fidget and makes gestures such as shake their leg, playing with their hair or tapping their fingers. Stay clear from repeating the same words or sentences during the discussion too.  To get yourself out of the nervous zone, lots of practice will help you adapt and remain calmer in video interviews. Taking recordings of yourself by re-enacting the presentation multiple times, watch, and observe how you are doing. Spot any subtle or distracting movements and learn to tone it down with the next practice.

Adjusting Your Positioning and Posture

Your positioning in a video interview is similar to a regular face-to-face interview except your lower body is not seen. The usual norm is to sit upright and keep your back straight while you are facing the front of the camera. Make necessary adjustments to your chair so that you are in the frame. Find the right distance between the camera and yourself to avoid leaning too front or recline too far back.

Dress Appropriately

Avoid wearing white garments as it will look too bright and become a distraction. Wearing an all-black ensemble is also discouraged as it would cause the webcam to overexpose your face. Be careful not to pick outfits with striking bright colours like reds, yellows, and pinks because the webcam may project your skin in a reddish and unnatural tinge. This depends on the skin tone too, so don’t strike the outfit option off completely. Solid and soft colours will be the safest way to go.

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Technical Set-up

Picking  a Webcam

Head to the nearest IT store to get a reasonably priced external webcam if you’re not using a built-in camera on your laptop. It’s important for you for have one that gives clear images and resolution. Position your camera angle to be above your eye-line or forehead. It’s recommended to place it on a high angled position or aligned with your eye level for normalcy.

Mobile phones and tablets can also be used because the technology has kept up with video recording. Do test out the devices ahead to troubleshoot any potential problems or interruptions that can occur. If you are utilising your mobile phone, attach it to a tripod towards your direction. Holding the device with your hand during the interview is discouraged and can be amateurish. Mute off any mobile notifications temporarily such as calls, texts, or any apps to avoid any interruption during the entire interview session.

Utilise Lighting During Interview

Regardless of how prim and proper you look, it will all be in vain if you conduct the interview in a poorly lit condition. Essentially, natural lighting is the best choice but indoor lighting can work too. Have the light source facing you to avoid shadows. You can do this by placing your light source – a desk lamp or light stand, next to you or towards you in front of the screen.

Webcam Software Options

Most webcams include a software to adjust colour, sharpness, white balance and exposure. The tools are pretty handy if the recording quality isn’t that great. Avoid overexposure and oversaturated tones. Stick to natural and soft editing to keep things professional.


Consider investing on a microphone or a headset with a built-in microphone if sound quality isn’t that good on your webcam or laptop. A proper microphone will filter out unwanted ambient sounds.

Interview Location (Background)

Pick a quiet place to carry out the interview and make sure that background does not have any glaring or distracting objects. A good rule of thumb is to have a white-walled background.

A quick checklist to prepare for a video interview:

  1. Tidy up your interview space and have your resume and notebook ready for writing pointers.
  2. Check your lighting and background.
  3. Ensure the webcam is correctly positioned for proper framing.
  4. Conduct a quick test on your webcam to make sure the settings are well adjusted and working perfectly fine.
  5. Do a test run on your microphone and aim for clear audio.

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