"Interview" to most of the world means being invited to a company or office to be interviewed for a job. There are lots of sites and tips for getting through those interviews successfully. One such site told me about the seven steps toward making a good impression at an interview:

1. Appearance
2. Clothes and accessories
3. The way you sit or stand
4. Eye contact, smiles
5. The handshake
6. Your voice
7. Your vocabulary

In the world of Virtual Assistants, we can cross out the first five steps and all we have left to make the impression is our telephone voice, our vocabulary and our ability to communicate via email and our web site.

Preparing for Your Virtual Telephone Interview.

Before the initial telephone interview, you've had an opportunity to review the "job description" or the list of the projects your potential client has in mind for a Virtual Assistant. If the potential client has not provided a list to you, then before scheduling the telephone interview, ask the potential client to please put together a list of the projects he/she could give to you right now if you were her VA. If this person doesn't have a list, ask her to put a note pad at the side of her desk and jot down those tasks that she could delegate.

This list will be your "job description." Ask her to email you the list when she has five or 10 items on it. Be sure to prepare for your interview by studying the list and matching your talents with her needs.

Before the interview:

1. Visit the potential client's web site if available
2. Identify your Five Strengths

a. List your skills and experiences that match the job description or list
b. What skills do you have that work well for all clients, communication, time-management, resourcefulness
c. What makes you unique? What are your strong personal traits? Are you good at meeting deadlines, keeping schedules, etc.

3. Prepare answers to questions such as:

a. How do you communicate that your are upset with a situation
b. Tell me about your work day
c. Do you ever fall behind on your projects
d. How do you schedule your projects
e. What is your greatest strength
f. What is your weakness
g. What was your most difficult project

4. Prepare some success stories – a good format for these is the SPARE – as explained by Carole Martin in her book, "Interview Fitness Training," (www.interviewfitnesstraining.com)

S or P– tell about the situation or problem
A – What action did you take
R – Results – What was the outcome or ending?
E – Enthusiasm – Tell the story in an interesting way, adding details that bring color and interest.

5. Prepare questions to ask the potential client

Now you are ready to schedule that phone call.

If you've been emailing potential clients, you can expect that some of those people may pick up the phone and call you, wanting to "interview" you immediately. Be sure to have your notes close to the telephone in the event the conversation leads to more of an interview. However, it is perfectly okay for you to tell this person that you would prefer to schedule a time for the call when you will be able to spend more time talking in detail about his/her needs and your qualifications.

Although the person at the other end of the line can't "see" your smile, they can hear it. Good luck with your next Virtual Interview.

Author's Bio: 

Kathy Sparks has taken her Virtual Assistant practice to a higher level and now has a successful Online Business Management practice after being certified with AssistU in 1998. She has partnered with clients nationally and internationally in a multitude of professions, publisher of "Connected Virtually, an e-Memo” an online newsletter for VAs and their clients, author of "The Virtual Assistant Guide," and co-author of "How to Find and Hire a Virtual Assistant." Looking to improve your online presence, visit http://www.yourvirtualresource.com