Many good candidates often tend to underestimate the importance of the telephone interview – this is a fatal error! A telephone interview is just as important as a face-to-face interview, not least because it’s getting your foot in the door and first chance to make a good impression. To help you to get the best out of your phone interview, we’ve rounded up ten top tips which will help you on your way to having a successful phone interview.
#1 – Set aside time for the call
Don’t simply go about your daily business and answer the phone in the middle of the supermarket. Make sure that you make proper time for the call as though it is a face-to-face interview. Find a quiet room where you won’t be interrupted and make sure that you’re comfortable and free to talk for a lengthy amount of time.
#2 – Be prepared
Make sure that you’re fully prepared by having anything you may need within touching distance. It will seem unprofessional to have to dig around for a pen to take down important details if you were pre-warned about the call so be sure to have paper and pen handy, as well as a glass of water, cup of coffee or anything else you think you might need. It’s always a good idea to have a printed copy of your CV and the job description to refer to when answering questions, too.
#3 – Use a landline
If you can, use a landline telephone to avoid the possibility of losing mobile signal or poor reception. However, if the landline is used by multiple people, be sure to warn others that you will need it at the scheduled time and make sure that you answer the phone yourself – having your parent, other half or family member answer and then pass it to you may look like you’ve forgotten to expect the call.
#4 – Take notes
During the phone call, take notes on the questions that are asked so that you can refer back to them if you have further interviews – the more clued up you are on what’s expected of you, the more likely it is that you’ll be successful. That being said, don’t focus so much on note-taking that you miss the questions!
#5 – Be polite
Follow proper phone etiquette and be sure to call the interviewer by their title and surname, unless otherwise instructed. Be as polite and courteous on the phone as you would be in a face-to-face interview which means addressing them correctly, not interrupting and thanking them for their time.
#6 – Be clear
When nervous, many people have a tendency to speak faster than usual so as to try to get all of their points out quickly. Try to speak slowly and clearly so that the interviewer understands what you are saying. Take a deep breath before every answer if necessary and try to stay calm.
#7 – Take your time
Before you answer a question, don’t be afraid to take a moment to reflect on the question and compose your answer. The interviewer should be patient and understanding and will appreciate you giving a thought-out answer rather than blurting the first thing that comes into your head – although you shouldn’t take so long that they think you’ve left the conversation!
#8 – Be concise
As with speaking quickly, a lot of people often tend to ramble when they’re anxious or under pressure so try not to fall into that trap. You should try to keep your answers short and to the point so that they answer the question but don’t go off on a tangent and become irrelevant.
#9 – Listen carefully
Make sure that you pay close attention to what the interviewer is saying. Although it’s easy to do on the phone, don’t let your mind drift or become distracted by what’s around you or you may end up answering the wrong question. If you think you’ve misheard or not caught part of the conversation, don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat it but be sure to listen closely to what they say.
#10 – Smile!
Finally, try to smile! It may seem like a strange tip since you’re only conversing over the phone but if you genuinely smile, the interviewer will hear this in your voice and will be more likely to perceive you as a positive and upbeat person- and this can only be a good thing!