How to boss a telephone interview
Arran Williams, August 16, 2016
So you've made an application, submitted it, and now the employer wants to hold a telephone interview. Great! You've past the first hurdle. Now time for the next test.
In this blog we'll take a look at how telephone interviews work and the tips you'll need to make yours a success.
What is a telephone interview?
The first thing to know is this - if you've been offered a telephone interview then you’ve shown enough for the employer to want to know more, so well done. This type of interview is often used by companies as a second stage in their process, getting to know a bit more about candidates who seem suitable from their written applications, particularly when the number of applicants is high.
The format of the telephone interview may differ from case to case. It may take the form of a relatively free-wheeling discussion about your qualities and experience. On the other hand, it may unfold in quite a regimented form, with the interviewer seeking to tick off the information they need from a questionnaire-style script.
To get a feel for the structure of the discussion, you can politely ask your interviewer at the beginning for a rough idea of how it will proceed. This can do no harm and might help give you a little breathing space to formulate your responses and sort out your notes.
Getting ready for the interview
Good preparation can make the difference between getting flustered and panicked, or keeping calm and in control. Take the time to get prepared - you'll be thanking yourself once the interview is under way
Try the following tips to prepare:
- Get your notes in order. Make sure you have any information you need written down and available to you, whether that be information about your experience or prepared answers. You will also want a copy of your CV and the job advert if you can get it. Try and have this information easily and tidily to hand - the last thing you want to do during the interview is to have to scramble around through a mess of papers!
- Think about what you might be asked, and outline some responses. By researching the kind of work your prospective employer does, and what kind of person they want for the job, you can probably make a decent guess at the kind of question they will ask. Having a note of your answers will give you peace of mind and valuable back-up in case you freeze.
- Prepare some questions of your own. It's standard practice in normal interviews to be asked if you have any questions. You don't want to end up with a long awkward phone silence as you flail around in search of a question about the job. So be sure to have a couple of intelligent sounding enquiries lined up in advance. If you need some inspiration then why not check out our interview questions blog.
- Sort out your phone and your location. If at all possible, use a landline and not a mobile. We all know that mobiles have a nasty habit of malfunctioning when you least expect it, so don't give them the chance to sabotage your job prospects. Arrange to be in a quiet, comfy place for your interview without any distractions. If you own a headset, why not use this? This is a great way to free your hands up for note-taking.
During the interview
If you follow our tips, you should be well-prepared. Now here's some advice for during the interview itself:
- Smile. This might sound weird considering the other person can't see you, but what you’re doing with your face will affect your voice and the way you talk. If you're trying to come across as positive, relaxed and confident, scowling will make you sound the opposite.
- Take your time. When we're nervous, we tend to speak faster, and a lot of that million-mile-an-hour chatter will be confusing. Take a conscious effort to keep things at a steady pace - you're not racing against the clock! Which relates to the most important point, which is...
- Relax. Interviews are stressful, but the stressed-out, chaotic look is not an attractive one to employers. If you've done your preparation, you'll be in a good position to give an impressive account of yourself. Reassure yourself by going through your notes beforehand and don't let your nerves distract you. You'll be fine!
So there you have it. If you follow these tips, you’ll come across as a confident, well-prepared and competent candidate. By developing a game plan, your qualities and experience will have the chance to shine through. Thanks for reading, and good luck!