Tips for the telephone

These days, more and more companies are using telephone interviews to screen candidates as a more cost-effective alternative to the more traditional face-to-face format, particularly in the early stages of the recruitment process. If the employer is recruiting nationally, this can also be a way for them to save on travel expenses.

But if you’ve never had one before, you may be wondering what exactly a telephone interview is and how you should prepare. A telephone interview is essentially an interview which takes place over the phone. The interviewer will still be assessing how you answer the questions and your demeanour, just as they would in a face-to-face interview, so it’s just as important that you make a good first impression … you’ll just have to do so without relying on that winning smile!

Our blog earlier this week on interviews will help you with general preparation, but here are some specific telephone interview tips to help you:

Location – Try to find somewhere quiet and comfortable, where you won’t be disturbed. Make sure you have a good phone connection (it may be more reliable to use a landline if you have one) and that you are ready to answer the phone when it rings!

Memory aids – Take advantage of the fact that you can make notes during a telephone interview – you might think of some great questions you’d like to ask at the end. It’s a good idea to have a copy of your CV to hand (and it’s likely the recruiter will have it in front of them too) to make sure you can confirm any dates or specific tasks you may be asked about. Be aware though that it doesn’t sound very professional if you’re flicking through sheets of paper whilst on the call, so make sure you have read through your CV first!

Listen! – A big part of any interview is to demonstrate your listening skills as well as your knowledge. This is particularly important when you can’t use body language. Make sure you listen carefully and take note of anything that seems of particular importance. You could indicate that you’re listening by saying ‘right’, ‘ok’, ‘mmm’ but it’s important to never interrupt.

Confidence – Even though the interviewer can’t see you, if you’re feeling confident, this will come across in your voice. It’s important to speak clearly and not too fast and to make time for pauses so that your answers are thought through and not rushed.

Practice – This is the best way to improve your interview technique. The volume, speed and clarity of your voice are especially important in a telephone interview. Remember you can book a practice telephone interview with one of our careers consultants, which should help you perfect your skills and hopefully leave you feeling calmer and able to perform better on the day.

To book a mock interview, call us on 020 7882 8533 or pop in to the Careers & Enterprise Centre in the Queens Building.


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