How to prepare for a phone interview and an online video interview?

The spread of coronavirus is changing the way we live, study and work. For security reasons, many employers and recruitment companies in Latvia and worldwide are moving from face-to-face interviews to telephone interviews and online video interviews.

While job interview questions are unlikely to change, there are some differences between face-to-face interviews and telephone interviews.

Telephone interview

Telephone interviews have historically been used as an initial method for screening candidates but are now becoming more widely used.

Tips for preparing for a phone interview:

    • Finding a quieter place when you see a call from an unfamiliar number. If this is not a good time to talk, feel free to ask them to call you after a certain time.
    • Prepare an information about yourself in one to two sentences. Read the cover letter – if you have taken the time to prepare it, you already have all the answers;
    • No need to respond right away. If you didn’t understand the question, feel free to ask. Demonstrate interest and ask questions;
    • After a phone call, ask yourself – what is your impression? Do you still want an internship or job in this company?
    • Live Video Interview

      You definitely need to be 100% ready. The quality of your online video interview depends on two things – your answers to questions and your ability to use modern technology. Before the interview, try it out with a friend who can judge the quality of your computer’s sound and picture connection. Skype, Whatsapp, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and more, are the most common types of programs. Before the video interview, make sure the interviewer has your mobile phone number if you still need to do a phone interview.

      Tips for preparing for an online video interview:

          • Choose a quiet, well-lit room with a neutral background, sit down so you can easily look at the camera and your picture wouldn’t be distorted;
          • Make sure your room is clean so unnecessary items wouldn’t distract from the interview process;
          • Prepare your computer, check your internet connection speed, your computer’s microphone and camera before the interview;
          • Dress as if you were going to a face-to-face interview – home interview doesn’t mean you can dress up in home clothes;
          • Consider avoiding bright colored clothes or big jewelry that can distract you;
          • Schedule your time if you don’t live alone – agree to be alone in the room, warn your relatives / friends not to disturb you;
          • Close unwanted programs on your computer, avoid unexpected interruptions and strange sounds;
          • Prepare your resume and remarks that highlight why you would be the right candidate for this vacancy;
          • Before the interview research company information and a research the most recent information;
          • Think about the questions that you might ask the interviewer. It is best to write these questions on a sticky note and stick it to the monitor;
          • Pay attention to the intonation, timbre of your voice, as a monotone is the fastest way for an interviewer to lose interest in you;
          • Prepare a glass of water and put it beside you;
          • If you really want to get an internship / job, show it after the interview, write a letter of gratitude to the interviewer. Finally, be patient, as it may take a little longer than usual for your interviewer to decide.
          • Be Social and ActiveNow

            Your active presence on social media like LinkedIn is more important than ever. Share and comment on articles relevant to your field of study / profession. Join discussion groups, comment and post articles.

            RTU students can receive career counseling remotely by writing to Eva.Patmalniece@rtu.lv.

            For more information:

            RTU Career Center Edition “Career Day 2020” (20.03.2020.)

            Gabija Čeledinaitė Psychologist, career counselor at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (20.03.2020.)

            5 things you must do to have a successful job interview on video during the COVID-19 outbreak (20.03.2020.)

            5 Tips for Job Searching During Coronavirus (20.03.2020.)

How to make studying from home effective?

Distance learning presents many new challenges to those who are in full-time education. Viktorija Gaina, a psychologist at Riga Technical University, summarizes the main problems students face and suggestions for solving them.

Arrangement of the working environment. It is very important to arrange the environment in your home for studying or working.

  • Think about which room and table you will work in, what materials you will need.
  • If you are sharing an apartment or a room with others, it would be desirable to arrange “quiet” hours for everyone to concentrate.

Clear rules. In an uncertain environment, it is important to follow or create rules ourselves.

  • Before you start, make a paperwork plan.
  • If you are pursuing a particular subject or a task, formulate what exactly you want to do in the next few hours.
  • If you are not clear about the course organization, the deadlines or form of the course, consult the Ortus, Estudies, contact the clerk or subject teacher. Productive action is impossible unless you understand and know exactly what is required of you.

System and regularity in learning are as important as training. Even if it is difficult, it is important to work on your study papers regularly and at about the same time. This time can also be seen as a wonderful opportunity to learn self-organization and self-motivation, which is so much appreciated by employers. General principles:

  • Work on one task in one go. Music or TV may not seem to bother you in the background, but learning from home disturbs us much faster than a face-to-face session.
  • Think about organizing incoming messages. At least while studying, if possible, turn off the sound and vibration.
  • When you start your work day, start with a job that you can do in couple of minutes or with some unpleasant work. This will help you warm up and give you confidence that you are working effectively.
  • Even when working from home, remember to take regular breaks and take care of yourself. A break is useful for some physical activity or a short walk in the fresh air. If this is not the case, ventilate the rooms where you are staying at least a few times a day. A warm, wholesome meal at least a few times a day and enough water will also help your thinking processes.

Here are some other tricks to improve your productivity:

  • In preparation for a workday, wear work clothes to separate your work time from your free time. If possible, the working space can also be separated from the lounge.
  • Make a to-do list because what you write down is usually different from the fictional and can be deleted. Write down the works to be delivered, the people to call or write, the e-lessons and meetings.
  • To-do list should be written in the evening for the next day – so you can get to work faster in the morning without wasting time planning.
  • Put together reminders for more important things.
  • Often, getting started is the hardest part. Leave the phone in another room and set the timer for 20 minutes. After the first 20 minutes, it will be much easier to continue. Take either the regular culinary timer or The Pomodoro Technique
  • Remember, not only do you have to start work on time, but also finish it on time! You also have the right to healthy laziness during self-isolation. A lot of free time can make you anxious about how to fill it in, but you shouldn’t overdo it.

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RTU psychologist’s recommendations for emotional survival of an emergency

Now we experience a strong alarm – the cancellation of plans, the change in rhythm of life, the uncertainty of what is happening at this time.
Despite the fact that Covid-19 is new to all people, this is still well known stress reaction that affects our emotions, thoughts and behaviors.
During this time, we feel excited and anxious. It is possible, you may easily become angry or overly sensitive. Perhaps what is happening around us is quickly irritating and you want to distance ourselves from people. This is a normal reaction to stress.

What can you do to feel better in this situation?

The main source of anxiety in such situations is the feeling that we can no longer control anything and it is important to regain some control over our daily routine.

• Distinguish real dangers and difficulties from imaginary or exaggerated ones.

• Take a pause and respect your emotional hygiene. As much as possible, avoid surfing the social networks or the media for ever new information about the spread of the virus. This informational noise affects our emotions and increases our sense of anxiety. The more anxious we are, the more we watch the news again. This creates a vicious circle that prevents us from being calm.

• Choose and follow some reliable sources. For example, follow the instructions from the World Health Organization in case of illness, the instructions of Consular Department of your country on what to do if you stacked outside your country, or any trusted person such as experts you trust.

• Follow the usual schedule and your daily routine as much as possible. Get up at the usual time, follow your eating routine. If you exercise, keep doing it at home or in the fresh air. Attend lectures online or take time to write homework or theses. In times of uncertainty routines help us to regain a sense of control.

• Try to maintain physical activity, walk and exercise in the fresh air.

• Distract your attention from worrying news by focusing on something you’ve long wanted to learn. For example, listen to a new lecture, learn something new on online training platforms, make a video-chat with your friends, and explain to your classmates what you are best at.

• Connect with people. It is important to maintain the usual communication, even in a virtual space. Use video calls to connect with family and friends. However, try to avoid each conversation turning into a discussion of the latest news about the virus.

• Support Someone! Ask how do near people feel. Perhaps someone feels even more confused and lonely. For example, a child, an elderly family member or other foreign student staying in Latvia.

• Get involved in some unusual challenge. For example, talk to someone you have not been in contact with for a long time. Look out the window every day and find something new you have not noticed before. Or cook yourself a warm meal every day. Or listen to a new music album every day.

• Take care of yourself. If you find it difficult to cope on your own, contact a RTU psychologist. Advice during quarantine is still available. Write to viktorija.gaina@rtu.lv and schedule time for online consultation.