How to survive a telephone interview

07/02/2018 @ 11:23:00

Companies use telephone interviews as a way of screening applicants and as a precursor to a video or face-to-face interview. The recruiter wants to get a feel for how suitable you might be as an employee and if you fit the job spec. Sounds tough? Don’t worry, here’s how to prepare: 

Remember the interview! 
This may seem blindly obvious but actually it’s common for people to forget about a scheduled telephone interview…until they’re in the pub when the phone rings!

Pick a quiet location 
Your home is probably the best place for a telephone interview because, hopefully, it’s quiet with no distracting street noises or computerised voices thanking you for shopping at Sainsbury’s! Pick a room where you won’t be disturbed, close the door and ask your family or housemates not to interrupt you.

Before the call comes in
Prepare your responses to those inevitable questions such as "Why do you want to work here?” "What do you know about us?” "Tell me about a time when you faced a challenge / worked in a team,” and so on because they can just as easily be asked on the phone as they can face-to-face. The advantage with a telephone interview is that you can keep your answers - as well as your CV, job ad, name of the interviewer and a few of your own questions - right in front of you. You’ll need a pen and paper for taking notes and your diary…for hopefully arranging the next step in the process. And make sure your phone's charged up!

Body language
If you think body language is irrelevant when you’re on the phone, think again. The interviewer can’t see you but they’ll definitely sense if you’re in a panic or calm and prepared. Pre-interview telephone practise (recorded if possible) with an honest friend should reveal all those little verbal quirks you never knew you had, such as talking too fast, saying umm all the time, interrupting or not listening carefully enough. 

Things to avoid

Swearing (the call might be recorded)
Eating or chewing gum (horrible squelchy noises down the phone!)
Emptying the dishwasher (or any other noisy activity)
- Doing anything else, even texting. The interviewer will sense you're not concentrating

Talking to anyone else, including the cat!

Finally, be courteous, polite and professional at all times, thank your interviewer for their time at the end and always feel free to ask whether you can come in and meet them in person.

Above all, smile.

Good luck!

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