Telephone interviews have become more and more prevalent as companies see it as a low-cost and quick method for performing screening and early round interviews.
Video interviews are particularly common in the temporary or contracting areas where companies look to make quick decisions to keep projects/work schedules on time. While the face to face interview is tough, people often find phone interviews even more difficult. It can be hard to make a good first impression to someone you can not see. Fortunately, telephone interviews do not need to be all that hard, and you can even turn the limitations to your advantage.
Telephone interviews benefits:
- You can have notes to hand that can be used to prompt if needed. Be sure to keep notes brief, ideally in bullet points that can be easily read.
- You can not get lost or held up in traffic travelling to the interview.
- Telephone interviews can be taken on a break during work with no need to use holidays, or take sick days, to attend interviews.
Preparing for a phone interview follows many of the steps required for a face to face interview – do your research on the company and industry, and ensure that you have your examples of experience all lined up. In addition to all the usual research, here are a few tips for the perfect telephone interview:
Make sure you have a space to interview: Use your landline if you have one, or if not, make sure you have a clear signal on your (fully charged ) mobile. You can not be blamed for a bad connection, but it could create a negative atmosphere and increase the risk of miscommunication. You should also shut out distractions and possible sources of interruption, so find a quiet room where you will not be disturbed. Do not take a call in the corridor of your workplace. If at home, ensure you have arranged for no distractions.
It is ok to ask questions: It can be hard to tell how you are doing in a phone interview. Face to face, you can sometimes use visual cues to estimate an interviewer’s response. Over the phone you have very little to rely on. Remember that there can be silences for many reasons – the interviewer may think that you are not finished your answer, he/she could be taking notes, etc. You can get around this uncertainty by asking – “Was that what you were looking for?” or “Should I go on?” While you might not normally ask these questions when sitting across a table from someone, it could really help both you and the interviewer in ensuring every answer you give is just right.
Stand up (if possible ): Stand up, walk around, and smile during the call. Believe it or not, these things make a big difference in the projection and quality of your voice. No smoking, chewing gum, eating or slurping coffee. However keep a glass of water handy so you can just wet your mouth and throat if they become dry.
It is still an interview: It may sound obvious but this is still an interview that just happens to be conducted over the phone so prepare exactly as you would have for a face to face meeting, eg practice your answers to possible questions, research the role and the company, have your own questions ready to ask at the end.
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