A telephone interview is often the first stepping stone on the journey to getting a new job and can determine your chances of moving onto the next stage of the interview process. Whether it's a conversation with a potential employer or a recruitment agency, first impressions count and we certainly recommend being prepared. Depending on your personal experience, a telephone interview may seem daunting or you might be totally relaxed; either way you should treat the process in that same way as a face to face meeting.
Telephone interviews have a number of advantages such as; the fact that they are quicker and more convenient and allow you the opportunity to use notes. However, there are also some drawbacks - telephone interviews are absent of the visual clues that usually could indicate the interviewer's reactions or show gestures and smiles that could support your arguments and enthusiasm.
Because this kind of job assessment represents an important stage in the recruitment process, we recommend some useful tips:
If you've applied for a job it's likely that you have a keen interest in the company already, however to really stand out and go the extra mile look further than the company website! Check out the LinkedIn profile of the person interviewing you - have you got any similarities, how long have they been with the company, how has their career progressed? If you can demonstrate that you've taken time to get to know your interviewer it shows you're serious & you might stumble across some good talking points! Plus making yourself familiar with this person will put you at ease.
Once you've made yourself familiar with the company's website take it one step further and look at their current activity, products and markets, structure, competitors and future plans. A quick Google search will bring up the latest news stories and PR activity. Compliments are always received well; be sure to congratulate them if you've spotted something that impresses you - this could be an award nomination or a new product launch!
2. Plan your answers
Make use of the job description to emphasise your skills and experience.
Plan some questions to ask, but also be prepared with answers for potential typical questions that may be addressed to you.
Here are some examples:
- Tell me about yourself
- What do you expect from the job?
- What do you know about our company?
- What are your greatest achievements?
- What salary are you looking for?
Ask a friend or relative to take part in a pretended interview conversation with you, and then, they will be able to give you some feedback about how confident and prepared you seem. Alternatively, you can record yourself and then improve on any weaknesses; did you know that speaking too quietly or quickly? This could damage your performance within the interview. You want to make this process as enjoyable as possible for the interviewer!
4. Help yourself, create your environment
Dress smart and stand up - this makes you feel professional and confident when speaking. Often employers will schedule a telephone interview before their working day starts, so if it is an early morning telephone interview, remember it's not a wake-up call. Wake up early, get out of bed and have a good breakfast.
Organise your notes and keep a copy of your CV handy just in case you're a victim of your nerves and forget important details.
Finally, make sure you are in a quiet room, and turn off any device or appliance which might disturb your conversation. Walking around outside on a busy street, in a noisy café or somewhere with poor signal will immediately have a negative effect.
5. Keep calm and ask again!
In case you cannot hear or understand a question, ask politely for clarification. Don't allow yourself to get distracted and caught in any awkward silences.
Smile, breathe and keep relaxed - the interviewer will hear this in your voice and you will come across much more confident when speaking.
6. Ask questions
It's pretty much a given that at the end of your interview you'll be asked "Do you have any questions?" This is your opportunity to find out more about the role and get clarification on any queries you might have. The advantage of being asked this over the phone is that you can prepare the questions beforehand and even have them written down in front of you.
Impress your interviewer by asking intelligent questions such as;
- Can you tell me more about the company and its future plans?
- What would my day to day responsibilities include?
- Are there any training and career progression opportunities?
In a context when your tools are just the words, these are some tips that can help you, don't you think?
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