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Get your skills and personality across in long-distance interviews

Skype, Google Hangouts or Netop Live Guide – more and more these online communication channels are becoming a place for job seekers to convince employers that they are the perfect fit for the vacancy. Phone interviews are also growing ever more popular.
More powerful computers, better internet connections, and more job hunting abroad make phone and Skype interviews a logical step.  They are an inexpensive way to screen candidates in the initial stages of a recruitment campaign. 
‘However, while in some sectors it's common way of communicating, sometimes for many jobseekers, it's something new and may be perceived as not a ‘real' interview,' says EURES adviser Patricija Kezele, based in Zagreb. She feels this is why EURES advisers sometimes need to emphasise the importance of good preparation.
Here are some key tips for getting the most out of a phone or Skype interview:
  • Check your internet connection and software, do a mock interview with a friend to make sure everything is working. This can also help you to adapt your style to the technology.
  • Make sure you are looking into the camera on your computer correctly so that you know that you are making eye contact with your interviewer.
  • Prepare your environment. A chaotic room behind you will not make a good impression. The way you arrange your room can help to ‘sell' you. If you are having to use a computer in a public space, let the interviewer know this.
  • Remember less body language is transmitted so focus on matching the tone of your voice and the pace of your words to what you are saying. If you say you are excited by a challenge, sound excited.
  • Prepare yourself just as if this was a face-to-face. Don't slip into thinking the interview is somehow ‘unreal'. Dress formally.
  • Keep notes you have made on the employer to hand so you can refer to them when asking questions. Make sure your CV, or any other relevant documents are also nearby.
  • Smile when you talk on the phone, you will sound more confident and warmer.
  • Since you are not getting visual feedback from the interviewer over the phone, don't hesitate to ask questions like, ‘Would you like me to go into more detail?' or ‘Was that what you needed to know?'
  • The interviewer may need to take notes so don't be flustered by the occasional short silence between questions.
  • Make sure you get the interviewer's email address so you can send a brief message afterwards, reiterating the key points and what you think you can bring to the table.
‘Although you may be talking to a machine, there is a real person on the other end and they are interested in hearing what you have to say, or they wouldn't be contacting you,' says Patricija.
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"Focus on…" articles are intended to provide users of the EURES portal with information on current topics and trends and to stimulate discussion and debate. They do not necessarily reflect the view of the European Commission.