Telephone interviews can help get the ball rolling if there are limitations on timescales or location and can be used to whittle down candidates for face to face interview.
Whilst they can get help get things moving, clearly it’s difficult to build rapport and create a good impression as you aren’t able to see the person you are talking to; a lot of synergy in a conversation comes from non-verbal signals. If you are having a telephone interview, you need to work harder to create an instant impact; you get less of a chance to ‘warm up’. That is why doing a bit of research and identifying some top telephone interview tips beforehand can be beneficial.
Telephone Interview Tips to Consider
Here’s our top telephone interview tips for preparing and maximising conversations with a future employer:
Make sure you’re in a quiet spot to conduct the interview. If you’re on your mobile, make sure you have good signal. If you’re on a landline, go to a quiet room and shut the door, make sure there’s no kids, dogs or cats etc. around to distract you, don’t do the dishes or check e-mail. Focus on the call and the questions.
Number two in our top telephone interview tips is Mind-Set. Recruitment processes move at a fast pace so remember that everything you say counts. This is part of the screening process, not a casual conversation. Take is seriously, treat it like you would a face-to- face interview. If you’re at home, you could be in your pyjamas or jeans but when you answer the call, make sure you feel the part. Wear your business attire and stand tall, at the very least, sit up straight. Remember that your tone and your mind-set will come across in the conversation, make sure what’s portrayed is one of professionalism.
Some people can come across as monotone over the phone because they can’t use body language to express themselves. Just because you’re on the phone doesn’t mean you need to be still and quiet. If you’re an animated talker in person, use your hands when you speak. Stand up and walk around to inject energy and movement into your voice. Also, don’t forget to smile – your interviewers perception of you will come from how you sound, make sure you sound interested and interesting.
In at number 4 on our top telephone interview tips is Listening. We already know that you won’t have the advantage of reading the other person’s body language so your listening skills need to be sharp. Focus on the questions and make sure you understand them before you answer. Don’t be afraid of short silences while you are processing the question and considering your answer. You’ll come across better if you have a considered approach than if you waffle your way to the answer. Also wait a second after the interviewer speaks before you answer so you don’t end up interrupting.
Think about the questions you’ll be asked about your experience and practice your answers out loud so you can hear what they sound like – even better if you can get someone to practice with you. If you are working with one of our consultants at Mercury, they can give you an idea on the kind of questions to expect for that specific role and also areas for you to think about. If you’re prone to talk quickly, practice talking a beat or two slower, it may feel a bit alien at first stick with it, clearly you need to get your points across in a clear and concise manner.
Stick to the point
If you’re usually chatty, practice getting to the point with your responses and don’t go off on tangents. Telephone interviews usually last 20 to 30 minutes so you need to use the time to impress the interviewer with your skills, not talk about the weather.
Stay away from the computer/laptop
The last of our telephone interview tips is to stay away from your computer or laptop. Get prepared before the phone call and make sure you have in front of you: a hard copy of your CV, your questions about the role and the business plus the research you have done. Paper documents might seem a bit old school but clicking away on your mouse or typing during the interview will be heard and will come across as disinterested or distracted. You may be checking the company’s website or bringing up your research, but you won’t be fully engaged and it will come across.
Keep these telephone interview tips in mind when it comes to your next telephone interview. So now you’ve got the know-how, all you have to do is ace the interview – good luck!