Telephone interviews deserve the same preparation as a face to face interview.
It can last around fifteen to thirty minutes and might be the first formal interview. If you are interviewing with a global company, like Morgan McKinley, you might be speaking to members of the team that are based in other locations as your final step in the interview process. This is your chance to wow the company you want to work for so please make sure you follow these tips to make sure you ace this interview stage.
First things first, if you get a call out of the blue and it is not a good time to talk, let the interviewer know and they will call you back. Maybe suggest another time over the phone or ask them to send you an email with times that work for them.
You may get a call out of the blue or be contacted by the recruiter to arrange a suitable time to have the telephone interview. As soon as you hit that “submit” button with your application, make sure that you write down the company name along with the details for the role you applied for. Make a note of why you want to join the company, why you would be a good fit for the role and any questions you want to know about the role, the company, career opportunities so you can be prepared for that unexpected telephone call as well as planned telephone interview.
Once the telephone interview has been arranged, choose a quiet place. If you are doing the interview on your lunch break, try and find a meeting room where you can talk freely or nearby park which is quiet. Nothing is worse than you not being able to hear the interviewer or them not being able to hear you. If at all possible, don’t plan a telephone interview when you know you will be on public transport, in a noisy coffee shop or surrounded by barking dogs/screaming children. Make sure that you are in a place where you can relax and give the interviewer your full attention. Remember, a telephone interview is just as important as a face to face interview.
Just because the interview isn’t face to face, doesn’t mean that you need to act differently. Since you can’t rely on body language or other non-verbal cues that you would pick up on in a face to face interview, it means that you need to be able to listen carefully and respond according. If you didn’t understand their question, ask them to repeat or rephrase it. Don’t interrupt the interviewer and when responding, think about your answer and don’t speak too quickly. If it is a tough question and you need a little time to think to make sure you respond in a logical, clear and concise way, ask if you can have a few seconds to think before responding. This will show the interviewer that you have listened and you want to make sure that you answer their question well. Smiling throughout the interview will help you sound enthusiastic and interested in the company/role.
Since the interviewer can’t see you, you can have notes and your CV in front of you. If there are any achievements that you feel are relevant for the role and you want to make sure you talk about, make a note of them and have those notes in front of you. Just be careful about the noise of rustling paper. You can then also write notes during the interview and have your two or three questions you want to ask at the end of the interview written down and ready to make sure you don’t forget what you want to know about the company/role!
Sending a quick email to say thank you for the interview goes a long way. If there was something that you particularly enjoyed about the interview (something new that you learnt about the company or the training programme), feel free to say so.
Remember, the phone interview is your chance to convince the interviewer that you really want this job and that they should meet you in person. Don’t forget to be polite, friendly and confident over the phone and SMILE! Interviewers will be able to hear your smile through your voice and tone over the phone. Good luck!