Telephone interviews can be daunting, but they’re a popular first stage interview choice for a variety of reasons. Not only are they easier to arrange than face-to-face meetings, they take up less time in the diary and work well as a quick get-to-know-each-other before committing to a full, in-person interview.
The good news is that with the right preparation, it’s not too difficult to impress over the phone and secure your place in the next step of the recruitment process. Here we share a few quick tips on how to master the art of phone interviewing.
As with all interviews, preparation is key. Read up on everything about the company, the job role and the industry before the call, and think about questions you may be asked and how you will respond, as well as questions you want to ask them.
The key things to research are:
The company, its history, ethos / values, products and services, recent news or press releases
The job role, skills and experiences they’re looking for and how you fit the bill
The industry as a whole, recent and upcoming developments, regulation changes, topical news, etc.
An extra benefit of phone interviews is that you can have all your research laid out in front of you for easy access, without having to worry about it looking messy or unprofessional.
It’s also a great idea to jot down some pointers to help you answer questions you think may come up, as well as the things you want to find out about the business and the role.
Keeping all this to hand during the conversation means you won’t forget to mention anything, avoiding that “why didn’t I bring that up?” feeling that we all know so well.
3. Be natural
It’s important, though, that you let the conversation flow and show your personality on the call, rather than shoehorning points and topics in that don’t quite fit. While this first stage is mostly a more in depth discovery of your skills and experience, the interviewer will also be considering whether your working style and personality will work well with their current team.
Top tips to calm the nerves:
Locate yourself in a quiet place about 10 minutes before the call to make sure you’re prepared and ready to start the interview
Read over your notes, the job description and your CV as a last minute reminder of the main points
Do some calming breathing exercises in the lead up to the interview time to help focus your mind
Remind yourself that this is a two-way conversation, and you’re assessing their suitability for your next career step as much as they’re considering you for their business
4. Use the lingo
When doing your research on the company and reading the job description, take note of any phrasing or terminology that is used.
Incorporating this language into your own responses is a subtle and easy way to demonstrate how your skills, experience and working methods harmonise with their needs.
For example, if the business puts a heavy emphasis on being customer-focused, be sure to refer to this in your answers, such as how a project you delivered had major benefits to the customers for X, Y and Z reasons.
Or if they refer to their customer service team as the “Customer Success department” or similar, use that specific term when walking about their business to show that you’ve done your research.
5. Voice your enthusiasm
Coming across as passionate and enthusiastic about the role and the business goes a long way in an interview.
It’s not just about whether you have the right skills, but whether it is an opportunity you’re genuinely interested in, and interviewers picking up on this can be the difference between progressing to the next stage or being rejected.
Without facial expressions and body language to demonstrate your eagerness, such as nodding and smiling, interviewers will rely on your tone of voice. To help with this, be sure to vary your tone and make positive noises throughout the conversation to show you’re listening.
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