Tips on Acing Phone and Video Interviews

Recruiters have increasingly turned to phone and video interviews over the last few years as a way of screening for candidates to manage their time.

This article covers some tips on how to ace those interviews.

Preparation is key
Prepare for a Skype or phone interview as you would an in-person interview. Refer to the following CareerVision article which provides tips for job seekers on preparing for the interview.

Find a quiet location
Select a spot that won’t have any noise in the background and where you won’t be interrupted.

Make a checklist of what you need
Have everything you need in front of you, including your resume, the job description, pen and paper for taking notes, and any other information that may help you. Prepare questions beforehand that you will want to ask during the interview.

Look into the camera
For a video interview, look into the camera so that it gives interviewers the impression that you are looking directly at them. Position the camera as close as possible to the interviewer’s image.

Have a good connection
A landline without the speakerphone, rather than a cell phone, usually provides the best connection in terms of sound quality for telephone interviews. Similarly, for a video interview, perform checks and balances and a test run in advance to ensure you have a stable Internet connection.

Impress with your verbal skills
Speak clearly and at a good pace, not too quickly or slowly, on the call and pause where appropriate so that the interviewer can understand you. Demonstrate that you are well spoken by avoiding phrases such as “you know”, “um” or repetition of your points. Speak succinctly since long-winded answers may cause the interviewer to lose interest in what you’re trying to convey.

Answer the questions
Answer each question as directly as possible without rambling. Write the interviewer’s question on paper and refer back to it to make sure you answered the original question.

Be lively
Taking your energy up a notch on a phone interview is important since facial expressions and body language cannot be conveyed. A phone call will tend to make an introverted person come across even more introverted. Exaggerate your vocal patterns. Speak directly into the phone and make sure there’s no muffle.

Call the interviewer by name
Use the interviewer’s name when answering a question. If there are multiple people on the call, make sure to respond to any question with the person’s name first if possible.

Stand up for a phone interview
You will have more energy when you are standing up or walking around while you talk. However, try not to make it obvious that you’re moving around (e.g., phone line has more static as you move around or your breathing may change).

Be aware of background image
On a video interview, it’s best to be in front of a neutral background - a white wall or plant usually works well.

Take cues from the interviewer
Let the interviewer dictate the flow of the interview - don’t dominate the conversation.

Finish strong
Close the interview reiterating your interest in the position, highlighting any key points and asking what the next steps would be. Send a thank you letter after the interview.

Prepare for a phone or video interview as much as you would for a regular interview. Use many of the same techniques but realize that when the interviewer can’t see you on a telephone call, you need to compensate for this.

Marc Belaiche is a 1990 CPA, CA and is President of, an Internet recruitment business and recruiting firm located in the Greater Toronto Area in Canada. Marc has been in the recruitment industry since 1995. allows companies to post their positions online, search a resume database to find candidates, provides outplacement services and full temporary and permanent recruitment services. It also allows candidates to search and apply to positions directly online and get career, interviewing and resume tips all at no charge. Marc is also President of, an organization geared towards business owners (see with an annual Toronto Entrepreneurs Conference. You can reach Marc at and check out at

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