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Telephone and video interviews are now becoming the norm in the recruitment process. They can often be viewed as informal by many because you are missing the face to face contact. However, if you perform exceptionally well in your telephone interview, you could be invited for a face to face interview or even offered the role depending upon, how many stages there are in the hiring process.  

Telephone interviews can often be quite awkward for many. But you should treat a telephone interview as you would a face to face interview as this is the first chance you will get to make a good impression and build a relationship with the hiring manager. 

Here are some tips for preparing for a telephone interview:

Preparation before the telephone interview 

Preparation for the telephone interview 

So, you won’t need to prepare your best suit, shirt or tie and plan the best journey. But you should still prepare for this telephone interview in the same way you would prepare for a face to face interview. Here are some steps to preparing for an interview

  • Confirm the duration of the interview with the recruiter/ hiring manager, and ensure that you have no other engagements either side of the interview, so you don’t have to rush to find a suitable place to conduct your telephone interview.
  • Researching the employer, company and hiring manager is just as crucial for a telephone interview as it is for a face to face interview.
  • Read the job description and identify where you meet the criteria for skills and competencies. Think of examples from your work experience that will help you to prove your skills and knowledge. 
  • Practice answering interview questions.
  • It is always good practice to prepare questions for the interviewer too. This will allow you to get to know the interviewer and learn more about the company and the team you may be joining. 

You mustn’t use this opportunity as just an “informal chat”, prepare for this interview as you would if it was a face to face meeting and you will give your self the best possible chance of being considered for the next stage in the hiring process. 

Communication skills 

Strengthening your verbal communication skills is key to ensure that you can get your points across effectively. Remember the interviewer will not be able to see your facial expressions or read your body language through the phone. The interviewer will be focusing on your voice and what you’re saying to them. 

Ensure that you are well-spoken and that you don’t speak too quickly. You should also be mindful around mumbling, covering your mouth when speaking and the words which you use during the conversation. 

On the day of the interview 

Get yourself organised 

You have done all the preparation you need to do for the telephone interview. Now you need to think about the location and your equipment.

Think about the following on the morning of your telephone interview: 

  •  Check that your phone is at full battery or that you have a charger to hand.
  • Ensure that wherever you are going to take your telephone interview has good signal.
  • Have your recruiter’s contact details on hand. 
  • Make sure you have the name and contact details of the person who is conducting the telephone interview to hand. 
  • Be in a place where you can answer the phone at least 15 mins before the scheduled time. 
  • If you are at home, make sure you tell anyone else in the house that you can’t be interrupted, also turn off anything in the background which will cause distractions or background noise.  
  • If you are in the office, find a private and quiet place to have this conversation.

The telephone interview 

Answering the phone

When you answer the phone, ensure that you answer professionally and let the caller know that they have reached the correct person, for example, ” Hello John speaking.”

Have all information to hand

As you would have already prepared the information you need for the interview. Now is the time you will need to use or reference it. Ensure that you have any notes, and a copy of your CV or application to hand as you may need to clarify specific sections of your experience or application submission. 

Your body language

Even though you are not sitting in front of the interviewer, your body language is still important and can make a difference in how you sound over the phone. Sitting upright rather than slouching in a chair will make a massive difference to how your voice projects.

Speak clearly and slowly

When in face to face situations, we often speak quite fast, you should pause and take breaths to help slow your speech down. You can also walk around the room to help with your speech pattern.

Be polite 

Even though the interviewer can’t see you, you should still practice good manners. Don’t eat food or chew on gum while you are talking over the phone. Also, don’t try to carry out other tasks while conducting your telephone interview you don’t want any distractions. 

Also, it may be harder to identify when you can start talking after a question or statement that the interviewer has made, as you can’t see any visual prompts. So you should try to take a few moments before you start to answer the question to ensure that the interviewer has finished speaking as this can come across quite rude to the interviewer. 

End of the telephone interview 

Finish of the interview by thanking the interviewer for taking the time to speak with you. This is the perfect time to ask any questions which you have prepared or thought of during the conversation.  

This is an excellent opportunity to show your interest in the role along with any other questions you may have around the role and hiring process. 

Follow up for feedback.

Once the telephone interview has taken place, and you are still interested in the opportunity, you should follow up with your recruiter just as you would if you had a face to face interview. 

Now hopefully, you feel more confident about your telephone interview. Remember, your verbal communication is vital, and you should try to do as much preparation as you can.

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