You may enjoy chatting on the 'phone, but it's a brave candidate who doesn't baulk at the thought of a telephone interview.
For many jobs it's now the first hurdle you have to overcome to get hired, and as usual the secret of success is preparation and forward planning. Here’s how to deal with it.
Gather your materials in advance – your CV to refer to when asked about your skills and experience, a copy of the job advert and description, and notes about the company and job you have gleaned from your own research. Have them within view so you can refer to them during the call. Don’t leave them where you have to get up to fetch them, or in a pile that you have to shuffle through – the interviewer is likely to hear the paper shuffling over the phone.
Get some practice first - ask a friend or relative to call you and pretend to interview you. It will seem odd and you’ll find it hard to resist laughing, but it is worth persisting because if you can handle a call from a friend and remain serious and formal, it will be easier to handle a telephone interview from a recruiter.
Usually you will know when the call is scheduled so find a quiet, private place where you can take the call. Set aside up to 45 minutes – it can sometimes take that long.
Treat it like a face-to-face interview. This is not a mobile phone chat with your mate so be formal. Note down the caller’s name as soon as they give it (it’s easy to forget when you are under stress and it looks sloppy if you do). Address the caller Mr, Mrs or Ms, unless they ask you to use their first name.
Think carefully before you answer questions. Don’t leave big gaps or ‘umms’ and ‘errs’, but don’t gabble which is easy if you are nervous.
Be friendly but business like. Smile as you talk – it may look crazy but the caller cannot see you and a smile is somehow audible over the phone.
At the end ask what the next step in the recruitment process is. If you have passed the phone interview stage usually it will mean you move on to a face-to-face interview. The phone interview is very rarely the final step to getting the job.
Finally thank the interviewer for their time and wish them a good day – remember it’s your final chance to make a good impression.
We also have some great tips and advice on how to conduct your video interview.