How to use Improv Skills With the 3 Most Common Types of Interviews

Tightrope Impro Theatre
4 min readOct 15, 2020

By Afrothiti Yannitsos

The interview process looks different depending on which stage you are at. Each type of interview has a different goal, format, and even communication style and set up. Whether the interview is on the phone, through a video camera or within a group of 10 people, we have some tips on how you can use improv skills to nail each type of interview.

The 30 Minute Phone Screen

Ahh — the dreaded phone screen. A chance to make a first impression, without actually being able to show your face. For the 30 minute (or less) phone screen, you hold all the power within the control of your voice. The problem is, many people are unaware of the intricacies of their own voice, let alone how to change it to play in their favour. This is where improv comes in — as improvisers are trained to not only be aware of their voice, but be able to alter and control it when they need to, no matter the pressure.

Being aware of your own voice is the first thing that we discover when we learn how to become improvisers. It’s an opportunity to check in with yourself and pay attention to the way you come across — and allows you to control exactly how you want to convey your voice. A good technique to help you put your best voice forward is to look into the mirror, introduce yourself, and see what you notice. Does your voice uptick at the end of a sentence? Do you say “uhm” a lot because you are speaking faster than your brain can keep up with? All of these questions can be analyzed if you take some time to listen and practice your voice a few times in a mirror. We promise you’ll walk away with a few insights that can help you shape your voice and get you onto the next round of interviews.

The Group Interview

Usually, a group interview is in place to handle a large volume of applicants, and weed out people who don’t show up, or aren’t serious about the role.They also want to see how you interact with potential colleagues. Trying to stand out in a group interview without dominating the conversation is a difficult balance to maintain, especially when your goal is to win the job. A great way to approach this is to always listen to others when they are sharing, seeking to build on their ideas instead of shutting them down or one-upping them. This is a big rule in improv — always make the other person look good. While you don’t want to overplay other people in the interview, you do want to show that you are the most supportive and collaborative in the group. This will only play to favour, as you will be seen as a team player!

The One On One Video Interview

The most traditional form of an interview — is the one on one 60 minute video call. For this interview, you not only need to be aware of your voice, but your body language as well! Now, as most interviews are virtual these days, you might be thinking that your body language doesn’t matter as much because you are only being seen through a camera, but that is 100% untrue. In fact, your facial expressions are magnified now more than ever. In virtual improv, we work on being aware of our facial expressions and body language when we are talking , and work to control them to appear as confident as possible.

One way you can use improv to appear more confident in the video interview , is to practice with another friend on zoom, and have them watch your facial expressions and give you feedback. We do this often in our virtual improv classes, to bring awareness to our faces on camera — and identify what quirks we might be predisposed to when we are feeling unconfident. You may notice that you are looking down when speaking about your strengths, or perhaps yours eyes are not focusing directly on the camera because you are nervous about a question. By practicing random sentences about yourself in front of a camera with other people, you can become aware of your movements on camera, control them, and end up putting your best face forward!

These points are just a sneak peak around the topics we cover in our Improv for Interviews Course. Register now for the upcoming course on tightropetheatre.com.

Dan and Afro will be your instructors. Combined, they have over 15 years experience with supporting clients through the interview process. They love using the skills they have learned in improv, and applying them to real world experiences, like speaking confidently in interviews!

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Tightrope Impro Theatre

At Tightrope Impro Theatre we practice, teach, apply, and develop the art form of improvisation.