When going through the job selection process, one of the most common stages that employers use to filter out candidates is the telephone interview stage.This normally takes place before a physical interview, and precedes the assessment centre.
Many candidates fail this stage, because they are unprepared or do not take it seriously. They underestimate the importance of telephone interviews, and as a result fail to impress the employer.
In this blog, we’ll give you our list of phone interview tips.
Why do employers use telephone interviews?
One of the main reasons that an organisation might decide to use a telephone interview, is that they don’t want to meet hundreds of candidates face-to-face during the early stages of selection.
- This can be extremely time-consuming and expensive.
Therefore this stage is a great opportunity for them to filter suitable candidates. A telephone interview can last between 5 and 20 minutes, but is far more cost effective and efficient than screening hundreds of applicants at an assessment day. In essence, a telephone interview is a sifting process.
It essential that you are prepared for this sifting stage. Using our top phone interview tips, you can ensure you are ready.
Phone Interview Tips: Dos
1. Body Language. The biggest mistake that many candidates fail to make is that they don’t consider their body language whilst they are on the phone to the interviewer. Studies have shown that your body language makes an enormous difference to the way that you sound down the phone. If you are smiling, it will project a positive vibe into your voice, and this will reflect to the interviewer.
2. Have a copy of your CV next to you. This goes without saying. When you are on the phone, you need to be able to refer back to your own resume, and to the job description. This will allow you to tailor your answers to what the interviewer is looking for. You should refer back to the core competencies at every stage of the interview. Having your resume next to you will allow you to answer the questions in a succinct, confident and direct manner, without the need for hesitation or awkward pauses in conversation.
3. Sit comfortably. The area in which you take the phone interview makes a massive difference to your chances of success. It is much better to be seated comfortably, in a quiet room that is free from any distractions, whilst taking the interview. Turn off the TV and any music, make sure that you are comfortable and that you can hear the interviewer clearly before you begin. There are many people that advise against laying down, or even taking the call in bed. Ideally, you should take the call wherever it is that you feel most comfortable, even if that is in bed. Some people prefer to stand up and walk around, working off any nervous energy. While this is a good strategy, you are likely to breathe heavily if you are walking around, and this could be distracting to the interviewer. Using our top phone interview tips, you can ensure that you remain calm and composed throughout.
4. Have a pen and paper to hand. This is a really important tip. During your phone interview, you should be taking brief notes on the important things that the interviewer says. This will allow you a) to refer back to them at a later point in the phone interview, b) use them during the later stages of the selection process. You can even ask questions based on the information you have written down, thus impressing the interviewer with your ability to remember information. Memorise our phone interview tips, and you are sure to succeed.
Phone Interview Tips: Don’ts
1. Don’t ask about the wage. This tip applies for any interview, but is particularly important in phone interviews, where many candidates think they have free reign to ask questions that they normally wouldn’t. Never ask about the salary. Your aim during the interview should be to convey yourself as someone who is interested in working for the company because of who they are, not what they pay.
2. Don’t be afraid of silence. Remember that a phone interview is not like a normal phone conversation. It is the interviewer’s job to carry the interview, not you. If there are gaps or pauses in conversation, then the worst thing you can do is start babbling to fill in the gaps. Let the interviewer speak, and then respond politely to their questions.
3. Don’t eat. This goes without saying. If your mouth is full of food, you won’t be able to project yourself clearly down the phone, and this will be very off-putting to the interviewer. Furthermore, it will make you look extremely unprofessional. The employer will expect you to treat the phone interview like a face to face interview, so make sure that you do.
4. Don’t be afraid to suggest an alternative time. Many people fear asking this prior to the interview, because they fear it will put off the interviewer. The reality is that you need to give yourself the best chances of success. If aren’t somewhere quiet or comfortable when they call you, make sure they call you back when you are. The interviewer will thank you for your professionalism, rather than having to conduct an interview in bad conditions.
For more top phone interview tips and tricks, purchase our outstanding 70 page Telephone Interview Guide.