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Alexis Phillips

Telephone interviews can be daunting, but they’re increasingly replacing face-to-face meetings as the first step of the recruitment process. This is particularly true in the current working climate, with companies attempting to limit the number of people in their offices in order to comply with social distancing regulations. The good news is that with the right preparation, it’s just as easy to impress over the phone as it is in person. Here are our top five tips on how to ace that telephone interview and show an employer that you’re the right person for the job, even when they can’t see you.

Do your research

This one is self-explanatory. Often, candidates may feel as though a telephone interview is more relaxed than one which is face-to-face and so requires less preparation. This isn’t the case; it will be just as obvious if you’re inventing things off the top of your head in a phone interview as it would be in person.

So, make sure that you do your research in advance of the interview. Read up about the firm and its work, as well as the broader industry that they work in if that would be a new sector for you. This will show the interviewer not only that you’re serious about working for the company, but also that you know what they do and where they fit within their sector, demonstrating that you would be a knowledgeable and appropriate addition to their team.

You should also review the job spec of the role that you’re applying for. In doing so, you can pinpoint the ways in which your specific skill-set and professional experience make you a good candidate for the role and potential asset to the company. It’s these strengths that you should highlight within the interview, which brings us to our next point…

Have any important questions or points in front of you

Although the fact that your interviewer can’t see you may be a disadvantage in terms of effective communication, one benefit that it does bring is that they also can’t see any preparation that you may have handy.

Use this to your advantage: write down any specific points or questions that you want to bring up and keep them on a document in front of you. If you do this, you can ensure that you sell yourself as best as possible, avoiding that “Why didn’t I bring that up?” feeling that we all know so well.

It’s important, though, that you don’t let the points that you want to make consume the entirety of your focus. Your written points shouldn’t be your crutch but rather added “extras”, the most important thing is that you listen and engage with the conversation. Let the interview take its natural course, rather than throwing in points for the sake of it.

Use phrases that show your understanding of the company and role

Another useful technique to employ in your research is to take note of any phrasing or terminology that repeatedly appears on the company website or in the job description.

Incorporating this language into your own responses is a subtle and easy way to demonstrate your understanding of the company ethos, the wider sector and the requirements of the role. It shows the interviewer that you’re well versed in industry technicalities and are aware of any nuances in the company’s work or self-positioning.

Know when to stop speaking

When you can’t see the interviewer to read their facial expressions or body language, it’s natural to want to fill any potentially awkward silence. However, you should resist the urge to cushion every pause with pointless chatter.

Bombarding the interviewer with irrelevant information will only drown out the important points that you have made. So, once you feel as though you’ve said everything of relevance, don’t feel the need to carry on talking. If there is a silence, it probably feels longer than it actually is, and more often than not, the interviewer will come back with another question for which you’ll have a more interesting and informed response.

Show your excitement in your voice

It’s important to remember that just as you can’t see the interviewer, they can’t see you. Accordingly, you can’t use your facial expressions or non-verbal body language to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role. Rather, you have to do so solely through your voice.

Ensure that your tone is varied and, rather than just nodding, give verbal cues to demonstrate that you’re still listening or are in agreement. Even though the interviewer can’t see your hand movements, gesturing as you would in a normal conversation can be helpful, too. Movement and speech are intertwined, and so making these hand gestures will serve to enhance your verbal communication. It will help you to form clearer and more coherent lines of thought and will provide an outlet for any nervous energy, so that this doesn’t manifest itself in your voice in a manner evident to the interviewer.

We hope that these foolproof telephone interview hacks will be helpful to all of those going through the first stage of recruitment over the coming weeks and months. Follow these tips and you might just find that telephone interviews aren’t as fearsome as they may have seemed.

If you’re seeking further advice about interview techniques or how to stand out as a candidate, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team at info@merje.com.