Phone Interviews - 10 Foolproof Tips
Posted by Harry Robins
Phone interviews are a great tool for saving time and are very different to being able to read body language in a face to face meeting but, with phone interviews around for the foreseeable future, it’s still wise to prepare for the preventable. While some of these points seem obvious, it’s still surprising as to how often a client or candidate’s feedback has mentioned an unfortunate misstep. 1. Location Avoiding anywhere noisy may sound obvious but if you’re taking a call at lunchtime and the only place to do it is in a coffee shop at peak time, you may not have the interviewer’s full attention and vice versa. Noisy pets and family members are also worth taking into consideration. Consider a meeting room, a quiet room at home or even a (parked) car. 2. Consider the signal That black spot can always be useful when receiving unsolicited calls but avoid talking in locations that you are particularly bad for reception. If a landline isn’t available, phone a friend or a member of your family beforehand, just to ensure the signal is at its strongest. Should you wish to keep it confidential, call your mobile phone company and say you just wanted to check everything was all okay with the signal in your area. 3. Familiarise yourself with the role and company While we are all adept at multitasking in our day to day lives and at work, you are putting yourself at risk by trying to read the company website and/or job specification at the same time as interviewing. Unfortunately, with only your voice to focus on, a seasoned interviewer is able to easily spot when they do not have your full attention. 4. Make sure you are ready early You may be expecting a call at 3 pm so be ready at least 5mins beforehand. With the possibility of both parties’ timepieces being slightly out of sync, you could easily miss that initial phone call and, while hitting redial takes no effort at all, you run the risk of ruining that first impression. 5. Do not answer immediately Allow yourself 2-3 rings to compose yourself, the interviewer will be doing the exact same thing. While answering immediately shows you are keen to talk, it can also be slightly startling to the person calling you, leading to a moment of hesitation or fluster. 6. Expecting urgent, life-changing news or a knock at the door? Tell this to the interviewer at the top of the call. It’s much better to make them aware (if you did not have time to ask for the call to be rescheduled) than cutting someone short out of the blue, to take an all-important call or answer the door for a long conversation. 7. Avoid cutting the interviewer off We all have a tendency to get over-excited therefore talking over one another happens more frequently on the phone (we all do this when we talk to friends and family, don’t we?). Be aware that this behaviour over the phone comes across as much more abrupt and aggressive. 8. Ask questions An interviewer will always ask if you have any more questions; ensure you have a few to hand as opposed to ending the conversation with a “no”. This is your chance to show how interested you are if you like what you have heard so far, otherwise, it’s quite an anticlimax for the interviewer who has taken time out of their diary to discuss the role with you. Even better, have a notepad ready to jot down notes to refer back to. 9. Allow an extra 30-45mins after the scheduled interview time Should the conversation flow, having the opportunity to further affirm your interest and leave a deeper impression on the interviewer, can only be a positive. Those extra few minutes could make all the difference, showcasing your ability to build rapport. However please ensure you don’t stray towards filling the conversation, just to keep the interviewer on the phone. 10. Practice As obvious as all the points may seem, sit down and work with your recruiter in a mock interview scenario. Having to spend a lot of time on the phone interviewing people, we can help you avoid pitfalls such as “dead air”, construct concise yet informative answers and ensure you are getting as much out of the conversation as an interviewer would expect to. For more information on this article and to find out more about how Harry can help with your recruitment needs, contact him on 020 7269 6365 or firstname.lastname@example.org.