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Interview Prep Tips for Professional Services, Part II

Interview opportunities can come in varying forms and subject matter experts, especially those at professional service firms, should be familiar with the most common types of media interviews. As with any situation, how you communicate with someone may change depending on the channel that you’re using (i.e., email versus phone or in-person versus a letter). The same is true for interviews. The tips covered in last month’s blog post provide a solid foundation to prepare for a media interview, but in this post we’ll take a deeper dive and review the two most common interview scenarios: phone interview and on-camera interview.

Phone Interview

There are a number of reasons why reporters request phone interviews with sources. A phone call can be more efficient and requires less time than an in-person or on-camera interview. Additionally, reporters can speak with sources outside of their immediate area. This advantage of phone interviews is particularly relevant for professional service firms because their areas of expertise aren’t confined to a specific geographic area. Here are our top five tips for phone interviews:

  • Ensure you’re available and on time for the call. Punctuality matters for phone interviews.
  • When on the phone, stay focused on the conversations. That means removing distractions by turning off your computer or logging out of your email.
  • Participate in the phone interview in a quiet space, which might be a conference room or somewhere other than your office.
  • Don’t slouch or lean over when talking on the phone. Sit up straight or stand to help you annunciate and allow your voice to project confidence.
  • Smile when you answer questions and use gestures. Your body posture will help you relax and enhance the interview.
On-Camera Interview

Public speaking is one of the most commonly cited fears in the United States and that same anxiety often pops up when we’re around a video camera. However, an on-camera interview doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are our top five tips for on-camera interviews:

  • Look at the person conducting the interview and not the camera (the one exception is an interview from a remote location/studio).
  • Speak slowly and clearly, and remember to smile.
  • Avoid small patterns, stripes, and clashing clothes (even with HD video, your attire could be distracting).
  • If seated, you should sit up straight. A quick trick that helps: position yourself about halfway forward in your chair. This forces you to sit up and appear more engaging.
  • Remember to assume that your microphone is live or hot (meaning that it’s recording) until the mic is removed.

Another common interview scenario, especially for those in professional services, is the in-person or face-to-face interview. These conversations often aren’t recorded, but the on-camera interview tips still apply.

These tips are tailored to the specific type of interview and should be used in combination with the recommendations outlined in the first blog post of this series. How you handle an interview is important, but developing compelling content is what can make or break an interview. That will be the focus of the third and final post in this series. Stay tuned!

A co-founder and partner, Andrew has been honored by Bulldog Reporter, PR News, and Style Weekly. He develops communications and PR strategies that help clients achieve their goals.