Many employers choose to screen the first round of candidates by conducting a telephone interview, before choosing a more select group to invite to a face-to-face meeting. While you might think that an interview over the phone sounds easier than a formal meeting, there’s still a lot to think about.
As well as considering the logistics (do you have somewhere private you can take the call for instance?), make sure you’ve thought about the following tips for a successful telephone interview:
Failing to properly prepare for any interview is a sure way of reducing your chances of success. Research the company and the role like you would for a face-to-face interview but remember that over the phone it’s harder to build rapport with someone, so you really need to impress with what you say and know.
It can be tempting to slip into a more relaxed tone over the phone – especially if you’re taking the call at home and are in a comfortable environment – but it’s important your responses are spoken clearly and kept concise to make yourself heard.
Using a mobile phone can be a big risk, you can’t guarantee signal strength and battery length, so use a landline (preferably in a quiet space) to ensure a clean line.
You can’t rely on a sharp suit to make a good first impression here, so remember to be personable and sell yourself through your knowledge and expertise, even if you don’t have the natural connection that comes with meeting someone in the flesh.
Because you can’t see your interviewer, you should be listening extra carefully to ensure you understand their meaning. When you’re not in the same room as someone, it can be easier to misunderstand what they’re saying.
The biggest advantage of interviewing over the phone is that you can have as many notes in front of you as you need. Try to keep them tidy and concise so you don’t have to spend time reading what you’ve written while the interviewer is waiting for you to respond.
This is a general interview tip but is just as applicable here as it is in any other interview. See our top 10 interview questions for some practice ahead of your telephone interview.
Prompt the interviewer to communicate what happens next in the interview process. As well as clarifying any steps you yourself need to take, it also shows that you’re keen to hear from them and still interested in the role.
Chances are, unless you’re interviewing for an international job, your telephone interview will be the initial round of interviews, so getting details like the above right should improve your chances of being called back for a second interview.
You might find it easier to stand during your telephone interview, it can help keep you alert, but if you’d prefer to sit down, avoid a comfortable sofa and instead opt for an office or desk chair. Good luck!
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Nothing like an interview for your dream job where you can lounge around in your pajamas, secretly watching TV out of the corner of your eye and, gasp, maybe even surf the web at the same time and update your status to “Kickin’ it in my footie jammies knockin’ out my interview!”
Not so fast. Yes, it’s true, your future boss might not need to know that you’re on the other end of the line in your favorite Scooby Doo flannels, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t treat the phone interview as seriously, if not more seriously, than any other standard interview.
Just because you’re not face to face with a potential employer doesn’t mean it’s time to throw all our hard learned interview rules out the window.
A good old telephone interview might sound like the perfect opportunity to slack and kick back, but in actuality, you have to work even HARDER to make yourself stand out to a potential employer.
But before we dive into the actual tips for phone interviews:
Why do some employers ask for phone interviews in the first place?
The point is, this is probably your first point of real contact with the company. While you’re not going to land the job from phone interview (most likely) you certainly can lose it!
Unique as phone interviews are in the job hunting world, at their core they are still pretty similar to any other interview and should be taken just as seriously…if not more seriously.
More seriously? Is that even a thing?
You bet your Scooby Doo flannels it is.
You see, one advantage an in-person interview has is the employer gets to physically meet you…shake your hand, and see one on one just how the chemistry works.
All of these things, which might seem rather insignificant in the moment, are actually critical parts of any interview.
When you’re interviewing via phone, you’re going to have to work even harder to make sure you are coming off as personable, capable, and above all…the perfect candidate.
So what exactly can you expect from a phone interview? Below are things you absolutely need to consider before picking up that phone!
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The last point is key. It’s quite rare that you will get an offer of an in-person interview at the end of your phone call. But don’t be discouraged!
The general practice is for the hiring manager to assess all of her phone interviews and create a short-list of candidates to be brought in for in-person interviews.
If you’ve followed our tips, you’ll surely be getting another call from her to be brought in.
OK, so how do you prepare for this bold new frontier of employment screening? Luckily almost all of the standard rules from in person interviews still apply, so the basic prep work is essentially the same but there are some tips specific to phone interviews than can really be of help:
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See below for our instructions on each tip!
THIS IS AN INTERVIEW! Treat it like one! That means be ready! Make sure you’re well rested. The last thing an interviewer wants to do is feel as though they’re interrupting something else you’re doing, or worse, woken you up.
When your interview is first scheduled, make sure you set aside time BEFORE the interview to prep for it.
If it’s an early morning interview, make sure you’re “going” before the phone rings.
Get up, get moving.
Get your vocal cords warmed up. Brew a cup of coffee or tea and be ready for your day. Brush your teeth!
Speaking of getting up and going…that means changing out of your jammies too.
But they’re so comfortable!
No. No. No. No.
This is just as much a mental game as a physical game and dressing the part (even if they can’t see you) can really help you kick your mind into the right frame to get you the job. If you’re slouching around and being lazy, it will come through in your interview…even if you’re trying your hardest to fake it. Trust us, interviewers will know…
Make sure you’re not distracted. Turn off the TV. Let me repeat that. TURN OFF THE TV.
Nobody wants to ask you about your past performances and work history and hear Sponge Bob in the background. Don’t think putting it on mute is good enough either. People can tell if you’re distracted and delaying your answers to a potential employer because you’re reading the crawler at the bottom of FOX News isn’t going to score you any points.
Get comfortable, but don’t get too comfortable.
Find a good spot to sit down and have all your prep materials nearby for easy access.
Sit at the kitchen table or at a desk.
Don’t lay down. Don’t slouch. Make sure distractions are not going to be an issue.
If you’re doing the interview at home and you’re not alone, make sure everyone knows you’re going to be busy for a bit and to give you some privacy. Put the dogs outside. Pop in a video for the kids. Have your spouse keep everyone calm. At the very least go into a room where you can shut the door a
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