Telephone interviews have become more and more prevalent as companies see it as a convenient method for early round interviews or interviewing candidates who are living abroad.
While the face to face interview is tough, people often find phone interviews even more difficult. It can be hard to make a good first impression to someone you can’t see but there are benefits and simple ways to perfect a phone interview.
Telephone interviews benefits
- You can have notes to hand that you can be used to prompt if needed. Be sure to keep notes brief, and never read pre-prepared answers as it’ll be obvious in your voice.
- You can’t get lost or held up in traffic traveling to the interview.
- Telephone interviews can be taken on a break during work, so you don’t need to take any time off.
Preparing for a phone interview follows many of the steps required for a face to face interview – do your research on the company and industry, and ensure that you have your examples of experience all lined up. In addition to all the usual research, here are 5 extra tips for doing the perfect telephone interview.
- Make sure you have a strong signal
Use your landline if you have one, or if not, make sure you have a clear signal on your (fully charged) mobile. If you’re doing a phone interview for a job abroad and are worried about phone charges, suggest a Skype call.
You won’t be blamed for a bad connection, but it would create a negative atmosphere and increase the risk of miscommunication.
- Organise a quiet space
Minimize any distractions or possible sources of interruption. Find a quiet, tidy room and if you live with other people let them know the time you’re interviewing.
- Ask Questions
It can be hard to tell how you’re doing in a phone interview. Face to face, you can use visual cues to gauge an interviewer’s response, over the phone you have very little to rely on.
Remember that there can be silences for many reasons – the interviewer may think that you are not finished your answer or they could be taking notes. You can avoid this uncertainty by asking – “Was that what you were looking for?” or “Should I go on?”
While you might not normally ask these questions when sitting across a table from someone, it could really help both you and the interviewer in ensuring every answer you give is just right.
- Dress smartly
Dress as if you are attending a face to face interview. Although your interviewer won’t be able to tell that you are in bed at 2.00pm in the day, it’s a good idea to dress smartly as this will have a positive effect psychologically.
- Be Professional
Not only is it important to dress like you would if you were in a face to face interview, you should treat the entire experience as if you were doing it in person – smile when you speak, sit up straight and be conscious of filler words such as “like” or “um”.
The key to all interviews is preparation. Do you research, answer the call with the right frame of mind and try to relax. You already know you’re the best person for the job; all you need to do is tell the interviewer.
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For more interview tips download the Cpl interview handbook.
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