Trust Me, Without Using Body Language

A client of mine had a job interview by Skype recently.

Here's the thing with Skype interviews. It's tough to communicate emotional intelligence when an interview is not in person.

Integrity. Trustworthiness. Confidence.

How do you communicate these characteristics when you can't shake hands, read the body language of the interviewer, and clue in on the nonverbal cues? I know you've probably been told to look at the camera of your laptop or phone rather than the screen, but there's a lot more to it than just "making eye contact."

For some, it's not hard to exude confidence. You know these folks -- they are poised, self-assured, and always outgoing. They are also usually a little obnoxious.

Me preparing for a phone or Skype interview

Just before a Skype interview, I'm usually thinking something like this:

"You can do this, Lynn. Just be yourself."

 ... *deep breath*

"But confident. Like, yourself, but on a really good day when you felt great about yourself."

 ... *pause, trying to remember a day like that*

"But, if I don't feel great today, but pretend that I do, am I really being myself?"

 ... *ponders the paradox that is me, full of self-doubt about my own confidence*

 ... *checks the time*

"Aaaargh! Oh no, it's time for the interview and I haven't even signed in yet!"

It's tough to exude confidence when you're nervous!

So if you're a bit neurotic (like me), what can you do when you have a phone or Skype interview?

Prepare phrases that convey the characteristics you want to project.

For example, suppose you're one of those folks who can be trusted with sensitive information. You're not tempted to gossip about work-related topics, and you're incredibly diligent about confidentiality. What phrases can you sneak into the interview to convey this quality?

  • "I'm often described as a trustworthy person with integrity."
  • "Maintaining confidentiality was critical in my previous role."
  • "My supervisor knew she could trust me with sensitive information."

You've articulated something that is often deduced by body language and nonverbal cues in an in-person interview. By stating explicitly how important confidentiality is to you, the interviewer can learn this without needing to be in the same room with you.

OK that was pretty easy to articulate, so how about a tougher one: honesty.

Bragging about how honest you are can backfire. If you go overboard, you can actually come off as dishonest. Really! I mean it! (See what I did there?) Try these phrases to convey honesty with authenticity.

  • "Truthfulness is quality that I value enormously in a colleague or boss."
  • *When I make a mistake, I own up to it and take care not to repeat it."
  • "When I can be candid with coworkers, I'm at my most effective."

These kinds of statements can be worked into almost any response to an interview question without sounding like they are coming out of nowhere.

Finally a word on how to handle your nerves. If you're interviewing by phone, you may hear your voice quiver a bit if you're really nervous. You may speak more softly or loudly than you intended to, especially at first. Your voice might even crack, or seem to stop working completely! If this happens, take a couple of deep breaths, and be honest with the interviewer. You might say something like:

  • "I'm nervous because I'm truly excited about this opportunity."
  • "It may not be obvious over the phone, but this role really excites me."
  • "Interviews can give me the the jitters, but I'm so glad to be talking with you."

Basically you're letting the interviewer know that the reason you are nervous is because it's a great company or wonderful opportunity. It turns your nervous sweating into a sort of compliment, because you are thrilled at the chance to be interviewed.

I hope these phrases help you feel more confident in your next interview, especially if you're being interviewed by Skype or phone. If you prepare notes for the occasion, write this in big, bold letters at the top of your notepad:

You can do this!

Youve Got This Amy Poehler.gif

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