June 28, 2016

Tips for the Faceless Interview


Remember all the years that you had to wear braces on your pearly whites? You did it for that perfect smile right? So now you have your first interview and it’s over the phone. What do your smile and a phone interview have in common? Put simply, they have absolutely nothing and everything in common. How so you ask, that is the focus of this post.

Until recently interviews were always done in person. The interviewee would be asked questions from one or a team of interviewers. The same thing happens today so what is the big deal you ask? Think about it, what is different? The key change is that the non-verbal job indicator called body language is missing.

Remember that perfect smile? What does it tell the interview team? It may tell the team that you are excited to work for their company or maybe it tells the interviewer that you are proud of a certain accomplishment that you just presented. Body language can speak volumes.  It can help you greatly during an interview but unfortunately you don’t get a choice of what kind of interview you will have when you get a call or text that you have been selected for a faceless interview, aka the phone interview.

A phone interview is tough for both the interviewer and interviewee. When you answer a question you will not have the luxury of seeing how your answer registered with the interviewer. Did he/she smile, nod approvingly, slightly frown, or laugh? Nope, just blank space and the next question. However there are some techniques that you can employ to give you an edge in these situations.

During a phone interview dead space appears to be amplified. That is, if the interviewee takes a while to answer a question, it seems like forever to the interviewer sitting on the other side of the phone. To combat this perception, prepare for the interview. Have some a couple of short answers to standard questions ready to spit out as soon as the question is asked. Quick answers give the sound and feel that the job candidate has really prepared for the interview.

Another technique is what I call doing the Hollywood. The Hollywood technique is to practice your interview talking into a mirror.  It’s not easy and it feels pretty weird but it should help you with your delivery of the conversation. What do I mean? Remember that no one can see you during the interview, you are faceless. Key body language signals are muted, so focus on what you have, your voice! Your voice can sound, excited, happy, motivated, wise or monotone, nervous, unsure, and anxious. Practice interviewing yourself using a mirror or just talking to the wall. However focus on your delivery. Can you sound excited when appropriate? Also, listen carefully if you begin to fall into a monotone trap on a long response. Your voice and delivery of your answers will leave a positive or negative image of you to the interviewer and it is all that you have to offer during a faceless interview, aka the phone interview. Good luck. 

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