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  • Lori A. Jazvac

Are You Prepared to Confidently Navigate Your Next Virtual Interview?

Today, applying the right interview strategy is absolutely essential for career success.

Statistics show that:

--> The average conversion rate from interview to offer = 19.78% in 2016 = 5 interviews / offer. (Jobvite, 2017 Recruiting Funnel Benchmark Report)

--> The average length of an interview process in US = 22.9 days (2014) (Glassdoor, 2015)

--> In 2016, 1 / 6 candidates who applied for a job were invited to an interview. (Jobvite, 2017 Recruiting Funnel Benchmark Report)

Maybe you've been with the same company for a few years; it’s time for a change. You decide to get your résumé portfolio professionally customized. You increase your networking efforts. Your references are in place.

Suddenly, you receive invites to several face-to-face interviews. Yet, you have been informed after the last interview that you did not quite make the mark... This is a common concern among many jobseekers.

Despite the stiff competition, you cannot pass up the opportunity to truly shine and present your best self during your next interview. After all, when opportunities arise, you need to leverage them quickly as efficient timing and preparation mean everything.

So you ponder, what really happened?

You seem to have done all the right things, yet you wonder is there something about your particular strategy that requires improvement?

Then, another week goes by and you get another call. This time the first round will be a phone interview and the second — a virtual Skype interview. The third interview will be in person; you will be meeting with a panel of two or three members of the executive team.

Yikes! Well, virtual interviews these days are quite common. Accordin to, video interviewing is increasing in popularity with 6 out of 10 hiring managers utilizing this practice for selecting candidates.

Yet, you cannot afford to pass up this chance to secure your dream job! Securing this job could mean a higher paying salary and the freedom to utilize your creativity and leadership skills in a challenging role.

Phone interviews: a trusted screening tool

Remember that the phone interview is an initial screening tool for employers.

The way that you sound and communicate via phone is important for the employer to assess your candidacy for the role and how you can meet their buying motivators — in other words, how you can achieve or exceed their strategic goals?

How will you respond to the call by a hiring manager or recruiter?

Here are 8 tips to ace the phone interview:

1. Practice thoroughly.

Practice answering questions, but also how you will communicate and sound over the phone. If you are dressed professionally and smile during the phone interview, you will likely convey high energy and enthusiasm.

2. Research the company in detail.

The most common question where candidates get stumped is what they know about the company. In fact, many candidates fail to do their research. Employers though perceive this as a lack of interest or preparation. Find out about a company by researching websites, Google, the library, periodicals, articles, or LinkedIn. Conduct your due diligence.

3. Conduct a mock interview with a career professional.

You may be surprised at how you come across on the phone. Work with a career professional to identify concrete success strategies for improvement. You can also use a free service like

4. When scheduling a phone interview, get all the details.

This includes the exact time of the call (including time zone clarification) and the exact contact, who is calling whom (phone number), and how long to expect the call to last.

5. Be aware that not all phone interviews are scheduled in advance.

They can happen at last minute’s notice. If you get a call from a hiring manager or HR professional during an inopportune time (i.e., you’re in a noisy place), either don’t answer the call and let it proceed to voicemail, or ask if you can move to a quiet place and call them back in a few minutes.

6. Remain free of interruptions.

Ensure that you can talk, and that your cell phone is fully charged. Be proactive. The last thing you want is your phone to disconnect, your dog to start barking loudly, or someone to ring your doorbell at the last minute!

7. Mind your manners and non-verbal and verbal communication.

Take a few deep breaths beforehand to stay relaxed and confident. If you are anxious, you will seem unfocused or unprepared. This may impact how the employer or hiring manager perceives your ability to handle yourself in employment-related situations, which can lead to being screened out.

8. Have a sheet of brief notes for reference on hand.

Make sure that you have a sheet of highlighted notes to quickly scan for reference during the phone interview along with your updated résumé in hand. Note your unique value proposition, a snapshot of your experience and skills, specific metrics related to your accomplishments, and questions of interest. Don't go overboard on asking too many questions. Do your research first!

Strategy for Handling the Phone Interview: The P-H-O-N-E Acronym

Here's an easy way to remember quick tips in navigating the phone interview using the PHONE acronym:

P- Positive. Always remain positive and polite on the phone. A negative mood can be detected. Remain upbeat throughout the entire conversation. Apply strong interpersonal skills.

H- High Energy. Exude high-energy and enthusiasm. Smile. Mind your non-verbal communication and verbal communication.

O- Opportunities. Use this opportunity to articulate your unique value. Overcome obstacles by showing you can solve a problem or issue in that organization. Listen actively. Be prepared by using examples. Remember the Challenge-Action-Results (CAR) Method.

N- Never talk about salary. If asked about salary, mention that you are flexible to negotiate and this can be discussed.

E- Exit the phone interview on a positive note. Reiterate your enthusiasm and interest. Pay attention to cues. Briefly inquire about next steps. Send a thank-you note soon and follow-up to secure a face-to-face interview.

How to Effectively Prepare for a Skype Interview

Some employers prefer to initially interview candidates on Skype, especially for remote roles or to get a feel for how a candidate conducts himself/herself in a different environment that includes technology.

Here are 8 tips to handling a Skype interview:

1. Be on time and dress polished and professionally as you would for any other interview. When you look and sound confident, you will present yourself in a more positive light. This means no casual clothes or sweatpants please!

2. Do a test run on your technology in advance to ensure that sound and video are of the highest quality.

3. Make sure that your space is clean, uncluttered, and void of noise. Otherwise, it will reflect upon your organizational skills and even your work ethic and personality.

4. Be polite, poised, and professional. Smile.

5. Go with the flow; align yourself with the interviewer’s style. Some Skype interviews may last 15–20 minutes; others can last an hour.

6. Stay focused. Speak clearly and slowly enough so that the hiring manager can understand your value.

7. Pay attention to all cues. Listen carefully. Balance logic with intuition.

8. Be prepared to highlight achievements concisely.

Remember to always send a brief thank-you note to the interviewer and follow-up to maximize your success.

For more information about interviews, call Lori at Creative Horizons Communications at 905.730.2374 or

Creative Horizons Communications is a one-stop, award-winning resume writing/career services firm based in the Halton region, providing a wide range of jobseekers with strategic solutions to enhance their career success.

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