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How to Prepare for a Technical Phone/Video Interview

kiarathedev profile image Kiara Contreras ・4 min read

Photo by Andrew Neel

After doing more interviews than I'd like to admit, I thought I'd share things that I've done to set myself up for success. Having set actions that you complete prior to the interview can ease anxiousness by creating routine. Each time I have a video/phone interview I learn something new about my personal interview style and what makes me comfortable.

This post includes information about actions that are meant to be done within the hour before your interview.

Take Notes Before the Interview

Write down the name of your interviewer, their position, and questions you'd like to ask them. Interview brain can go blank so having this on-hand and close is always helpful. It's one less thing you have to worry about!

Get Dressed

Be sure to wear something that you'd be confident in. It doesn't have to be business causal attire but get out of your pajamas. Getting into interview clothes can help your energy and that translates virtually to the interviewer.

Even if it's a screen-share, get dressed. It's better that they don't see you and you're prepared vs. having to turn on your camera to reveal bedhead. (Seriously, I almost didn't get dressed once and it was the only screen-share interview I've had where they wanted to see me.)

Alert Others of Your Interview

If you're at home and live with other people, let them know you have an interview! Doing this can create the quiet space you need for the interview, which leads to my next suggestion.

Find a Quiet Spot

Be sure to pick a quiet spot. A quiet space will aid in keeping concentration on the most important aspect, the interview.

Test Camera & Audio

Use your computer's built-in camera or your webcam in order to see what you would look like in the interview. This will help in determining if you're sitting in the best spot!

Try to place the computer/webcam at eye level. Doing this will help with your posture and you can speak directly without turning. Take time to find a neutral background. I usually have my back to a white wall so that my surroundings aren't a distraction to the interviewer.

Make sure to use wired headphones! Having your bluetooth headphones die during an interview isn't fun, trust me. Test them by listening to your favorite music or by watching a funny video.

Check Internet Connection

Visit a few websites to make sure that the internet connection is working properly. I like to watch something funny to get me laughing.

Have Resume & Job Description Accessible

Being able to speak about the position while referencing the job description can be an incredible asset. Having them open gives you the option to use buzz words referenced in the job description!

You may get questions about your resume, so rather than attempting to memorize your wording, have it readily available.

Silence Your Devices

I've been interviewed without silencing my computer's notifications, what a mistake that was. I got messages from my mom during a screen-share and the interviewers saw popups, it was very distracting!

If you're using a cellphone, silence notifications once the call has started.

Clear Your Space

Take a moment to remove items from your space that aren't needed. These items can provide a distraction and can physically get in your way if you move around. I find that having a cleaner space makes me feel more calm.

Gather Your Essentials

It'll take some time to figure out what you like best but here are things that I need to have during video/phone interviews:

  • Water (ideally in a sealed container to avoid spilling)
  • Paper & Pen (includes notes taken beforehand)
  • Lip balm
  • Wired headphones
  • Laptop connected to power throughout the interview

Stretch and Take Deep Breaths

Getting your body moving can help with energy and nerves. Try taking slower breaths, doing this can aid in controlling your heart rate. Read more about it here from Harvard Health Publishing.

Take a Bathroom Break

I get pretty nervous before an interview so even if I don't have to use the bathroom I do it anyway.

What if the interview runs long? What if I chug too much water out of nervousness and have to wait until the interview is done to go? Try not to set yourself up for distraction by going before the call starts.

Conclusion

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this! I truly enjoy writing about interviewing and will continue to do so. Leave a comment if there's something specific you'd like me to write about!

I'd also love to hear about how you prep! Feel free to provide suggestions below for other devs.

Discussion (2)

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Gustavo Sánchez

Very useful article, We often don't stop to understand what a remote meeting or interview implies. I will try to use your advices :).

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Tony Tin Nguyen

Thank you for your tips, Kiara.