From sweaty palms to racing hearts, the rapid-fire questions and glaring eye contact from human resources is enough to intimidate any job seeker during an in-person interview. What if you removed the face-to-face interaction and replaced it with an unconventional approach? Would your preparation change? Would your anxiety diminish?
Unconventional interviews have become the norm in today’s job market due to an overwhelmingly large unemployment pool and vast advances in technology. You no longer have to meet someone face-to-face to accomplish an interview; you can simply connect via other communication modes such as over the phone or online using SKYPE. Unconventional interviews are growing in popularity because they save money, time, and resources for both the interviewer and the interviewee.
Sometimes an unconventional interview acts as the weeding out process. A phone call or videoconference can make or break your chance of obtaining an actual in-person interview. Fail to perform well during your unconventional interview and you are likely out of the running, no longer considered a viable candidate. This is a huge defeat because you basically lose an opportunity to land a job.
Before you dismiss an unconventional interview as a waste of time, you better reconsider that mentality and prepare for it harder than you would prepare for an actual in-person interview. Why? There are consequences for not properly preparing for your interview. For one, you come across as unprepared. You make a poor first impression; you aren’t memorable, and you will have wasted both your time and the employer’s time.
In order to get ready for your upcoming unconventional interview, here’s what you should do…
A day before your interview…

  • Get your information ready and print off a copy of your resume.
  • Print off the job description and some information about the company. Study it and come prepared with questions.
  • Locate a landline phone. You will have a better connection and most importantly your call won’t be dropped.
  • Test your phone’s functions. Try the mute and call waiting functions. If you can, turn them off so you won’t be interrupted by an incoming call.
  • Prepare, prepare, prepare!

One hour before your interview… 


  • Locate a quiet place.
  • Free your environment from all distractions (pets, kids, etc).
  • Clear your desk and remove anything that might distract you from the actual interview (Food, knickknacks, gum, etc.).
  • Shut your door and place a sign outside of your entry stating that you cannot be interrupted until the door re-opens.
  • Turn off other phones, the TV, the radio, your computer, and any other devices that can cause distractions.
  • Dress the part. Whether you are interviewing over the phone or via video chat, make sure that you dress for success. Put on a suit and comb your hair. Looking unkempt will make you feel unorganized and sloppy.


Right before your interview…


  • Sit up tall and act confident; don’t lounge on the couch or sit outside on a lawn chair relaxing. Your mind won’t be very sharp when it’s in relaxation mode.
  • Arrive at your quiet destination at least 10 minutes prior to your scheduled call. Have your phone/SKYPE up and running.
  • Answer the phone call on the first ring with your name.
  • If you are on video chat, smile and acknowledge the people behind the computer screen.


Just remember that whether it’s an in-person interview or an unconventional interview, the preparation never changes. Don’t let your phone/video interview last just a few minutes. The longer the interview, the better your chances for being called back for an in-person interview. Stay tuned for tips on acing your unconventional interview.

This article was written by Amy Gubser (ACRW, CJSS) of BlueSteps Executive Career Services (BECS). Amy specializes in Personal Brand Coaching, Job Search Coaching, Career Change Coaching, Interview Coaching, and Salary Negotiation Coaching and has years of experience.

Connect with Amy and other resume writers and coaches at BlueSteps Executive Career Services (BECS) for your career management needs.

About BlueSteps
BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 16,000 executive search professionals in more than 75 countries. Be visible, and be considered for up to 75,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more.



Copyright © 2013-present BlueSteps, Inc. All rights reserved. The Executive Job Search Engine for Professionals | Bluesteps