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Video and Telephone Interviews – The modern way to interview

Video and Telephone Interviews – The modern way to interview

Choosing to move overseas can be a very exciting decision! But what’s the next step?  Imagine not even being in the same room as the interviewer or being able to shake their hand! Read this article by Think Global Recruitment on the do's and don'ts of video and telephone interviewing.

We are all familiar with the formalities of going for a job interview, but how does that change when the role you’re going for is based overseas? Imagine not even being in the same room as the interviewer or being able to shake their hand! Whether you want to do Audit in Australia, Banking in Bermuda, Risk in Russia or Tax in Turks and Caicos, there are some important steps you can follow to make the process a little easier.

Increasingly companies are recruiting from all over the world. Interviewing methods have changed to incorporate video conferencing and telephone interviews. Using these cost effective methods of interviewing saves time and resources and allows employers to consider applicants from outside their own geographical location.

Video Conferencing

Video conferencing gives you the opportunity to apply for jobs, even if you can’t fly to the other side of the world at short notice for a face-to-face interview. It’s a great way of making an impact on a future employer and they can also get a sense of what you are capable of.

You can express enthusiasm, focus and commitment better than you could in a telephone interview. You can also respond more directly to their questions.

The following tips can help to make your video conference a success.


Practice at home with a camcorder so you can see if you have any off-putting habits such as touching your hair or putting your hand over your mouth.  Think about the best position to sit in that looks professional and friendly but is still comfortable for you.

Don’t get preoccupied with how the technology works, focus on what you’re trying to achieve and getting your key points across to the interviewer.

What to wear

Dress as you would if you were going to a face to face interview. Avoid light colours or patterns as it may be difficult for the camera to focus. The interviewer may not be able to see all of you but you’ll feel more confident if you’re dressed to impress.

Sit up straight and try not to move around too much as the camera will be positioned on you.

Be prepared

Find out before hand where the interview is going to be held and how long it will take you to get there, get there in plenty of time so that you can get comfortable and make sure all the equipment is working. Speak to the company providing the video conferencing facilities and find out who to contact if there is a problem and whether a technician will be on hand if you should run into difficulties.

During some video conferences the video monitor may show an image of you, as well as the interviewer.  This can be distracting so find out before the interview starts how to turn it off.

Make sure you know who is initiating the call and, if you are dialing out, what number to use.

Take a notepad and pen with you, don’t be afraid to take notes if you feel it is appropriate but don’t become distracted.

Have a copy of your resume and the job description to refer to but don’t read from them.

Do your research

As with all interviews, research the company before the interview. Find out as much information as possible about the company, department and the role that you’re being interviewed for. The internet is a very good source of information and sites such as Google News will have details of any recent press coverage.

It is essential that you look at the company’s website. This is a vital source of information and may contain information such as the Annual Report – this can often be downloaded from the website.

Make sure you have excellent market knowledge and are aware of any issues affecting the industry and company. Read industry magazines and the business pages of broadsheet newspapers to make sure you know of any relevant media coverage. Most newspapers will have an online archive that you can search.

Make sure you understand the whole recruitment process. Who will be interviewing you? What is the next stage? Do they require references? Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

During the interview

You will be able to see the interviewer on the video monitor, so as you would with a face to face interview, maintain eye contact. Treat the interview as a normal conversation, keep your head up and try to remain natural.

Be aware of you body language.  Keep your hand and body movements to a minimum and make sure you’re sitting in a comfortable position. Jerky or rapid movements can look distorted on a video monitor.

Even with the most sophisticated video-conferencing technology there will be slight time delays, this can be quite disconcerting for the first time user. Leave lots of pauses before talking to allow all your words to be relayed to the interviewer. Try to remain calm and confident and resist the temptation to fill the void.

Be positive

If you’ve answered a question negatively try to turn it into a positive. For example, “I’m not naturally patient with people who are slow to learn. However, I realise this and take extra time now to explain things to people as simply as possible.”

If asked why you want to leave your current role make your response positive. Never criticise a past employer.

If you are unable to answer a question when prompted, ask if you can go back to it at a later stage.

Let the interviewer know if you are interested in the job. If you are enthusiastic it could make you stand out above the others. The company will know that it’s worth their while progressing things with you.

Ask Questions

It’s crucial that you prepare questions before the interview. Write them down and have them in front of you. Topics that you could cover include:

  • Career progression
  • The appraisal procedure
  • Opportunities for secondment
  • Details about the team you’d be working with
  • Exciting developments in the future for the company

Don’t bring up salary at this stage – it’s best to leave it until an offer has been made or until they ask you about it.

After the interview

Learn from it. Think about whether there was anything that you could have done better or differently. Take on board the feedback that the interviewer provides.

Telephone Interviews

{mosbanner right}While telephone interviews aren’t an entirely new concept it can still be a nerve-racking experience for interviewer and applicant alike. It can be harder to make a first impression when a potential employer can’t see you, so job seekers have to work hard to make that all important first interview count. They test your verbal communication skills and telephone technique as well as your ability to cope with the unexpected.

The same rules apply for a telephone interview as they would a video conference; however, follow these simple tips to make telephoning interviewing stress free.

  • Provide a landline telephone number instead of a mobile. Make sure you have a contact number for the interviewer in case you do not receive the call when expected.
  • Answer the phone personally. If there are other people there, warn them that you are expecting the call and don’t want to be interrupted.
  • Ensure you are in a quiet location to take the call. It’s important to have a comfortable chair and to sit up straight. It will make you feel more confident. Project your voice and make sure your hands are not covering your mouth.
  • Don’t chew gum, smoke, eat or nibble your pen. It can be very distracting for the interviewer.
  • Listen carefully. You’re at a disadvantage as you can’t read their body language. Try to pick up on verbal cues.
  • Make positive affirmations, don’t talk over the interviewer but show that you’re listening.
  • If the interviewer stops talking or doesn’t come in as soon as you finish an answer, don’t worry. They are probably taking notes. Ask “˜would you like me to expand on that further?’ if you’re unsure about whether they are expecting you to carry on talking.
  • Tone of voice. This is the most important aspect of this form of interview. Sound interested, energetic and enthusiastic.  Keep your answers brief, don’t be tempted to waffle or use jargon.

Think about what you want to achieve from the interview and how you see yourself fitting into the company you’re interviewing with.  Video and telephone interviews are by no means a substitute for face to face interviews so show your enthusiasm and impress the interviewer so that they will take your job application to the next level.

Think Global Recruitement helps finance professionals throughout the world secure new positions overseas. If you would like further information or advice on interviewing skills or are interested in pursuing a career in accountancy overseas then please contact us on +44 (0) 870 242 6609 or visit