Have you noticed that everyone seems to be getting busier? Recruiters certainly are, so much so that telephone interviews are increasingly being used at the start of the recruitment process to narrow down potential candidates. Despite this prevalence, we have found that even the most seasoned interviewee can be unsure on how to approach an interview over the phone, so I have put together my top ten telephone interview tips just for you.
- Timing is everything
- Practice makes perfect
- Dress to impress
- Business as usual
- Turn that frown upside down
- Stand in front of a mirror
- Don’t chit chat
- End graciously but presumptuously
- If they miss you…
You will probably be offered more than one available time slot for your telephone interview so select an appointment which will give you sufficient time to prepare and allow you to dedicate more than enough time to complete the interview without panicking that you’re running late for something else.
During your telephone interview your interviewer will rely wholly on your voice to make their assessment of your personality, so a few days before your interview brush up on your telephone voice! Ask a friend to play the part of interviewer and listen to your answers over the telephone or record your own voice on your phone and listen back. You’re aiming for a professional and friendly tone with clear diction.
It may sound a little bit silly but getting a little spruced up to complete your telephone interview will really help to put you in the right frame of mind to shine. You don’t necessarily have to go the whole hog and sit at your kitchen table in full business attire (unless you really want to), but simply being clean shaven or having freshly applied make-up will make you feel ready and raring to conquer the world!
The most imperative but all too often overlooked tip for a telephone interview is to make sure you can be heard. You should sit in the quietest place possible where under no circumstances will you be disturbed. Even the most inscrutable noise will be amplified on the telephone and distract your interviewer! If you are at home for your interview make sure that ALL electrical appliances are turned off (including things like washing machines, noisy boilers or background music). If you are sitting in your car; turn off your engine, wind up your windows and park somewhere quiet.
Just because your interview is over the telephone, do not be lulled into a false sense of security! It is imperative that you prepare in as much detail as you would for a face to face interview; research the company and take notes (you can put your key facts on post-it notes and stick them in front of you!). Equally just as you wouldn’t arrive at a face to face interview a minute before it is due to start, do not wait until your phone actually rings to be ready to start your interview.
You can hear a smile. Smiling will instantly change your tone of voice to make it sound especially warm and approachable; so smile during your telephone interview. It really is that simple!
The sound of your voice is also heavily influenced by your posture. Just standing upright with your shoulders back and your chin down, you will make your voice sound confident and calm. Standing in front of a mirror will not only remind you to maintain this posture and keep that all important smile on your face, but it will also keep you rooted in one place and prevent you from wondering or fidgeting during the interview. This is really important; if the interviewer hears you fidgeting in the background you will sound distracted at best, disinterested at worst.
One of the easiest errors to make during a telephone interview is to mistake it for a casual chat! Answer your telephone cheerfully but professionally and thank them for their call. Listen carefully to each and every question you are asked, answer each precisely and then stop talking to await the next question. When you are given an opportunity to ask anything, use insightful and considered questions you have already prepared and listen carefully to the answer.
The overall aim of a telephone interview is to be invited for a face to face interview. When you reach the end of the interview thank the interviewer for their time and ask when you are going in to interview face to face. For example; “Thank you for your time, I am really looking forward to meeting with you and you colleagues. I am free next week- when would be the most convenient time for you?”
Things don’t always go to plan; maybe your interviewer calls you ten minutes too early or gets tied up and misses your appointment. When they call to leave you a voicemail message it is essential that they hear a polite and professional greeting message from you. Indeed, the very second you begin the job hunt you need to record a new answer-phone message thanking the caller for their call and promising to call them back promptly.
If you’re looking for your next career move you will probably find yourself on the interviewee side of a telephone pretty soon. Follow this advice and everything will go swimmingly.
For more advice you can always give us a call – 01159607000.
Written by Sean O’Neill, Recruitment Consultant for BTG Nottingham.