Congratulations! After a long and sometimes frustrating process of applying for new positions, you’ve been asked for an interview. That’s wonderful!
There are two classic interview styles: The in-person and the over-the-phone. In some cases, one type of interview might lead to the other, so it’s best to do all you can to prepare for either outcome.
But as a job seeker, which kind is better? Do you want to go with the in-person, where you can see the responses to your answers, or the phone interview, where you can sit comfortably at home?
There are pros and cons to each.
The Phone Interview:
This might be the first phase of the interview process. You’ll want to be impressive, of course, but you’ll only have your conversation to build from.
The good news is, phone interviews can be conducted from anywhere.
You can be sitting on your couch, in your most comfortable outfit, sipping your favorite hot beverage, or you could be in a hotel room halfway around the world on vacation. It’s less stressful, as the people you’re talking with can’t see what you’re wearing and won’t be scrutinizing your every move or expression. It also opens up the possibility of taking a remote job, if that’s something you’d like to consider because they can be done from anywhere and all meetings would likely be calls anyway.
On the other hand, you’re relying on technology to work when you need it.
A bad connection during a regular call can be annoying; a bad connection or signal during a phone interview can derail the process through no fault of your own. And while the people you’re talking with can’t see your face, you can’t see theirs or read their expressions and get a sense of whether things are going well. Phone interviews also tend to be shorter, meaning you have less time to provide answers or explain your way of thinking.
The In-Person Interview:
A good handshake, a big smile, and lots of eye contact can be signals of confidence and preparedness for in-person interviews.
That face-to-face conversation can go a long way toward making a great impression and indicating to the hiring team whether you’d be a good fit for the job. With a longer interview, as in-person conversations tend to be, there’s more time to think about an answer and expand on it.
The downside is, some people get so nervous during face-to-face interviews they have trouble answering questions clearly and concisely.
There’s also the challenge of finding the time to go into the office for the interview, especially if you’re currently employed and trying to be discreet about looking to move. When you for an in-person interview, it’s also clear that every aspect of how you present yourself will be noted and could be criticized, even if you wouldn’t be in a customer-facing job.
The advice to be yourself and let some of your personality come through in an interview is still solid. It could be harder to tell in a phone interview, than in an in-person one, whether a light-hearted comment was understood as such, but it’s still worth making an effort. Bottom line: Do your homework to prepare for the interview and, worst-case scenario, be grateful for the practice!
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