Telephone interviews are becoming increasingly common, not only are they a relatively inexpensive method of screening candidates, but they are also a great way for employers to assess whether you are suitable for the next stage of the application process.
A telephone interview might mean you don’t have to worry about how you look, but nevertheless, it’s still an interview; so you need to be just as prepared as you would be for a face-to-face interview. It’s important to research the job role and the company thoroughly as this will help you decide if the company is right for you and will also allow you to create knowledgeable answers and express how your skill set will fit in with the company’s values.
Just as you would for a regular interview, write up a list of strengths, weaknesses and accomplishments. It’s usually best to keep these to bullet points, that way you won’t be tempted to simply read out long paragraphs which will make your response sound stilted and rehearsed.
Before you start, make sure you are sat somewhere quiet where there are no distractions; at a desk is usually best as this will be easier for making notes. It’s also a good idea to have a copy of your CV in front of you. Again, try not to just recite what you have written, keep the conversation fluid; your prospective employer wants to see your personality and it’s also likely they will also have a copy in front of them.
If the recruiter has called you at an inconvenient time, for example if you are unable to sit somewhere private, then explain this to them and suggest some alternative times. Unless you can be sure that your mobile signal is going to be perfect, it’s usually best to use a landline.
The disadvantage of telephone interviews is that it’s hard to judge the reactions of your interviewer because you don’t have non-verbal cues like a smile or a nod to rely on. This can often leave telephone interviews feeling a little more rigid and formulaic than face-to-face interviews. However, smiling when you talk on the phone will make you feel more relaxed and confident, and also gives your voice a positive tone that naturally ensures you sound enthusiastic and keen.
Think about your answers carefully, if this means taking a couple of seconds to collect your thoughts then that’s fine, and if you don’t understand the question completely don’t be afraid to ask for a bit more clarification. Remember that your interviewer will also need a moment to write down your answers so don’t be too put off by short pauses. As you will be doing a lot of talking you may like to keep a glass of water handy.
This is your chance to shine against the other candidates so sound interested about the role and the company and ask relevant questions. At the end of the interview reiterate your interest in the role and outline specific points you discussed, finally make sure that you thank your employer for their time.