The first interview with a potential employer is where you can make your mark. People form first impressions quickly, and if you are able to make a good one, it can only work in your favor. While much of the conventional wisdom about interview strategies remains the same, the actual interview process has been advancing along with technology.
Graduates today must be prepared not only for face-to-face interviews, but other potential methods as well, including telephone and teleconference (Skype) interviews. Experts agree that these different interview formats each hold different advantages and disadvantages.
Take, for instance, the matter of body language and non-verbal cues. Over the telephone, you won’t be able to read the interviewer’s body language, and he or she won’t be able to read yours, either. This can be to your advantage if you’re nervous, as the interviewer won’t notice you tapping your foot. It can also be a disadvantage, though, as you won’t be able to tell as easily when the interviewer is pausing to think, preparing to ask a follow-up question, waiting for a conclusion to your response, or is ready to move on to the next question.
Videoconferencing allow you and the interviewer to actually see one another, cutting down on the chances of missing nonverbal cues. Be sure to practice the software that you will be using, though, before the actual interview. Have a friend or family member teleconference with you so that you can troubleshoot any issues in advance.
Experts also advise prospective employees to choose a quiet setting free from interruptions when preparing for a telephone or videoconferencing interview. Just like a face-to-face interview, videoconferencing will require that you dress appropriately. And while the interviewer can’t see you in a telephone interview, you may want to dress up just a bit anyway. What you wear has a tremendous effect on how you feel, and you don’t want to end up sounding too casual.
Some things about the interview process will never change. You should always practice all of the common interview questions and your answers to them. Have a friend role play a mock interview with you so that you’ll feel more comfortable with your answers. Don’t be surprised, though, if you end up answering those questions over an Internet connection. Videoconferencing continues to rise in popularity among interviewers, since it allows for long-distance interviews, as well as saves the company a good deal of money for each position it is seeking to fill. Students should note that some professors may also use teleconferencing for lectures, so you could get some practice through online courses.