How to blitz a telephone interview

The idea of a telephone interview can be extremely daunting. Your interviewer will not be able to see how great you look in a slick suit, you need to use this interview to show your professionalism and high levels of communication.

Your interviewer may have chosen to interview over the telephone for numerous reasons. They may just be very busy, therefore making time for face to face interviews may be very difficult. Another reason may be to ensure that you are a serious applicant and that you are actually interested in the position. A telephone interview is normally the first stage in the interview process, which is usually carried through to face to face interviews. A telephone interview is certainly not the time to discuss salary, and package details. Refrain from asking such questions. It could be the reason that you may not secure that all important face to face interview. 

Telephone interviewing is common practice when interviewing for a job abroad. It would be very difficult to fly out all applicants to interview face to face, so a telephone interview will be carried out as the first stage. 

A telephone interview is hugely important and should not be seen as something 'easy'. Planning and research is crucial. Ensure you are prepared, your recruitment consultant will provide you with information, or even a job spec. Go through this with a fine toothed comb and pull it apart. Look at the areas which you would excel in and have experience in. And the areas that you are not so experienced in, think about what you could do to ace the job and work load. The main bonus of a telephone interview is that you can use your own notes. Write out detailed notes prior to your interview and have them out in front of you so you never have a dreaded awkward silence! Your interviewer will inevitably ask you if you have any questions, ensure that you are prepared for this. By asking questions you will come across as interested and keen to find out more about the position and company. Write out some questions ready for your interview. Prepare a few questions. Your interviewer may cover some of the questions during the telephone interview. Do cross off the questions they have answered to avoid the embarrassment of asking them to repeat information that they have already given you.  Do not be scared to ask your interviewer to elaborate on an answer. It will help you to understand more and will demonstrate interest. 

When giving a telephone number to your recruiter/interviewer - give two phone numbers. A land line is more reliable and would be ideal if you suddenly lose signal, or your mobile battery dies. If you have more than one telephone, turn the other one on silent. A phone interview is still an interview - do not allow for distractions. Keep focused, ignore other forms of communication, whether this be your emails coming through, or social media notifications begging you to open them. For the duration of the telephone interview, these things are not important. Allow enough time for your phone interview. Try not to secure a lunch hour appointment, instead try to take off the afternoon from work. This way you will not be pushed for time and will allow you to have a good conversation and will stop you from sounding like you are rushing. Another crucial point, keep your phone charged! Charge your mobile and land line to avoid any technicalities. If you are interviewing at home, sit in a quiet room. If you have children or other people in the house, make sure they understand that silence in the background is so very important.

Make sure that you have a quiet place to go, where you will not be interrupted. It can even help to dress in smart office attire. This is so that you are in the right mind-set for an interview. Try to sit at a desk during your telephone interview. Preparation is so important. In front of you should be your detailed notes, your questions for your interviewer, a copy of your CV and a note pad and pen. Do take notes during your telephone interview. These notes will benefit you when preparing for your face to face interview. It may be useful if you were to carry out a practice interview. Ask a close friend or family member to do a practice run with you. Get them to call you and to ask you questions as you would in a real life interview. Ensure you have eaten and had a glass of water before your interview, not during! You do not want to put off your interviewer buy chomping and slurping down the telephone. 

The job that you have applied for may require high levels of telephone communication. Remember to be clear and concise when delivering your answers. Most importantly, speak slowly! Do not rush your answers, stay calm! Try your best to sound enthusiastic! Because your interviewer cannot see your facial expressions, you will need to display enthusiasm to show that you are actually interested in the role that you have applied for. If you do not hear the question asked of you by your interviewer, do not be afraid to ask for clarification. A telephone line will never be as clear as face to face interviewing, your interviewer will understand if you need them to repeat a question. As you would with a face to face interview, ensure you have plenty of rest and stay alert throughout the interview. You certainly do not want to be yawning down the telephone! Sit up straight, imagine your interviewer can see you. Good posture will enable you to speak clearer and sound interested. Your vocabulary is so important in a phone interview. Use relevant words and avoid using 'erm' and 'like'. You need to show your intelligence and ability to communicate over the telephone. It is an instant put off if you start uming and ahing about your answers. 


Categories: Job Seekers, Interviews

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