Employers like telephone interviews because they keep costs down and they save time – a typical telephone interview will last around 30 minutes.
As a jobseeker, preparing for a telephone interview requires the same attention to detail as a face to face interview. You also need to think about what will happen during the interview itself.
Here’s our list of DOs and DON’Ts if you’re a candidate in a telephone interview.
Telephone Interview DOs
DO your research just as you would for a face to face interview. Find out about the company, its industry and recent projects and achievements. How big is it and what does it produce? Research its competitors too, to get as complete a picture as you can.
Also, research what the advertised role involves and make sure you understand the job description.
DO prepare your questions. Interviews are two-way and you need to show that you’re fully engaged with the process. You can do this by asking questions about the company and the role you’re applying for – just be sure you’re not asking things you should already know from the job vacancy and description.
Write your questions down before the telephone interview so that you can refer to them during it. Keep a paper and pen handy to write down any important points during the interview.
DO have your CV ready to refer to. The interviewer will probably have a copy of it too so they may not ask you for any details on it, but it’s best to fully prepare yourself. The last thing you want to do is sound vague about your own experience and qualifications.
DO listen carefully. Make sure you understand all the interviewer’s questions and take all the points on board. Anything that stands out as being particularly relevant make a note of, in case it comes up again later in the interview. And if they ask you if you’ve got anything else you wish to know about, raise it then.
DO smile. This may sound strange since no one can see you, but smiling will make you sound upbeat throughout the interview. Research has shown that smiling affects how you speak.
Telephone Interview DON’Ts
DON’T become distracted. Your attention can wander if you’re not in a face to face situation, but don’t let it. Make sure you take the interview call somewhere that’s sufficiently private where others aren’t listening in or passing by. Remember, this is a two-way conversation. Keep it that way.
DON’T interrupt the interviewer. Always make sure they finish their sentences before you talk. By taking your time you’ll be able to listen more carefully to what they’re asking and then coordinate your response. You want to impress the interviewer and you won’t do this if you speak over them. On the other hand, don’t let your pauses become awkward silences.
DON’T let your voice sound bored. You must stay attentive and alert. If the interviewer asks you a question and you’ve not been listening, then they’ll conclude that you’re not really interested in the job. Don’t mumble when you respond or worse, yawn.
DON’T eat during the conversation. You might be tempted to take advantage of your interview involving sound only, but the chances are the interviewer will hear you snacking. The same applies to chewing gum. Plus, talking while eating will not help you to sound clear.
More Telephone Interview Tips
You’re most likely to be answering questions within a strict time limit but resist the urge to rush your answers. Try to manage the pace of your speech when you answer questions and keep your answers succinct and relevant.
When the interviewer’s explaining things, rather than questioning you, respond positively to show you’re listening and engaged with what you’re hearing.
You can’t take any direction from the interviewer’s body language or pick up visual cues, but you can listen well and consider your responses carefully.
Where you’ve got notes to hand, use them sparingly. You don’t want to sound like you’re leafing through them and reciting your answers from a pre-prepared sheet.
Finally, do dress for the occasion. It’s about getting into the part and having the right mindset. This is unlikely if you’re still in your pyjamas.
Prepare for Success
What will get you to the interview stage in the first place? By having a professional video CV you can draw positive attention to your application and have an immediate impact.