How to be amazing at telephone interviews

To some people, telephone interviews can seem like a far easier option than face-to-face interviews. However, this isn’t always the case. Telephone interviews can be difficult for various reasons:

  • You can’t tell what the interviewer is thinking from their facial expressions
  • It’s easy to accidentally interrupt them when they’re about to speak
  • All you have to impress them with is your words. A charming personality can come across in a phone interview, but you need to try a little harder to do this.

Remember: The interviewer on the other end of the phone will have the same problems; they won’t know what you’re really thinking either. Here are a few useful tips on how you can successfully prepare and execute a telephone interview.

  • Location, location, location

You should make sure you find a quiet room where you’ll be undisturbed for at least an hour. If you can, ensure you choose a room where you have sufficient phone signal (and that your battery is charged if using a mobile phone). Try not to pick a room that has too much echo as this is distracting for the interviewer. Don’t sit by a window or a noisy area if possible. Are you just at your desk at home? There’s nothing wrong with this, however do try and remove distractions from this area.

  • Dress for the occasion

Even though you won’t be physically seen during your telephone interview, some people recommend dressing smartly anyway. Why? Because you’re more likely to act and sound professional if you know you look it – even if the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t.

  • Get notes, make notes

It’s a good idea to have a pad of paper and a pen at the ready so you can make notes from the interview. You never know, it might help you raise some very good questions for the end. As well as this, it can be prudent to have some cue cards at the ready too, with snippets of research on the company you’ve found or some questions you wish to ask. When on the phone it’s easy to just have a bit of a mind blank.

  • Have the paperwork

Make sure you have a copy of your CV, job specification and your job application in front of you. It’s highly likely that the interviewer will have the same documents in front of them, so you want to make sure anything you reference will be easily accessible for them on the other end.

  • You don’t have to sit

Do you tend to walk around the room when you’re on the phone? A lot of us do. This can make you feel more alert and concentrate on what you’re saying more. As long as you’re not wearing high heels on a very loud floor, it’s a good idea to try this tip – it could get the ideal answers flowing.

  • Resist the urge

If you’re in your home environment, it’s very easy to become distracted. If you’re sitting in front of a computer, try to avoid checking your email, social media sites or online shopping. This is a distraction and it’ll come across to the interviewer that your mind is elsewhere. This is another reason why some people prefer to stand or walk around; it eliminates easy distractions.

Remember, this is just a preliminary stage before a face-to-face interview. The employer simply wants to make sure you’re a serious candidate to consider for the role. You might even have two more interviews after a phone interview, so you want to make sure you get off on the right foot. Most of these tips are reasonably self-explanatory, but it’s good to be reminded of them from time to time. As it’s just a phone interview, it’s not the time to ask questions regarding salary or job perks. Try to imagine the interviewer in front of you, and be sure to still take time to answer the questions. It’s easy to ramble on a bit when you’re on the phone, because there are no facial clues from the other person to show that they’ve got their answer. It’s up to you to try and answer the question clearly and directly.

Finally, there’s a lot that can be said for ending on a positive note. If applicable, you should mention that you’re pleased with what you’ve been told regarding the role and that you’re looking forward to hearing back from them soon. This may prompt them to tell you when they’re likely to contact you again. Don’t be afraid to be forthright and ask when you’ll next hear from them – this is a potential career!

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