For starters, congratulations – if you’ve been invited to a telephone interview it means you’ve passed the first hurdle. As a candidate, your success relies on the ability to do whatever you can to differentiate yourself from the competition. Whether you then progress from the telephone interview to a face-to-face interview can be determined by the finest of margins, so getting it right, first time, is really important. Using our experience and candidate feedback, we have compiled some really useful tips to help you impress the recruiter that will be interviewing you over the phone. This is your time to shine.
This might seem fairly obvious, but surprisingly the majority of people that take part in a telephone interview either forget or ignore the fundamentals - for many different reasons. Like everything else in life, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. As a graduate you simply cannot rely on your prior working experiences alone (if you have any), so confidence, persuasion and influence are really crucial.
Here are some key tips that will help you prepare for the best:
· Research the company, founding values and history.
· Understand your experiences – have examples of transferable skills acquired for each. Think about how these will relate to the role. What soft and hard skills can you demonstrate?
· Think about why you are interested in the position you have applied for.
· Have questions of your own to ask the recruiter interviewing you.
It pays to get familiar with the STAR based competency model. By using this step-by-step method, your answers will be more fluid, consistent and to the point - providing clarity to your answers.
If it’s your first telephone interview it will feel strange. The good news is that preparation always pays off, and one of the main advantages of telephone interviews is that you can use notes. Keep an up-to-date CV in front of you and be prepared to be questioned about each working experience. Make sure that you have to hand all the notes that you’ve collected while doing the research on the company you’re interviewing for.
But be careful, notes are useful, but try not to sound like you are reading from them. This might affect the clarity of your message and the outcome of the interview. Consider wearing a pair of headphones with a microphone, or even a headset if you have one, as this will save some embarrassing pauses while you flick through your notes and balance the phone at the same time.
The majority of people are startled by how quickly they talk. This is really important in any interview setting as the interviewer will probably be taking notes of what you’re saying. Have you thought about recording yourself having a conversation with a friend or colleague and listening back to it? Try cutting down the use of verbal crutches when speaking as best as possible. Slowing down will certainly help.
Use the landline phone
Yes, that’s right – a ‘landline telephone’. Whilst the technology and the quality of our mobile phones are always improving, landlines still lead the way when it comes to reliability. This is particularly the case in ‘dead-zones’ where the signal may drop.
Think ahead. Where will you be when you’re scheduled to take the interviewer’s call? Hopefully you’ll be in a quiet room where you can relax and concentrate properly. Not the gym or the local coffee shop! Even more importantly, make sure that you will not be interrupted during your call. Make sure that you let those around you know of your interview and that you shouldn’t be disturbed.
Answer and end the call professionally
Hello, Martin / Olivia speaking. The interview might take place over the phone, but try and picture the interviewer in front of you – how would you behave then? It helps to stand up while you are on the phone. This will help you to project your voice and sound enthusiastic. Once the call has ended, ensure you have expressed interest in the position. Thank the recruiter for devoting their time to interview you and always follow up with an email.