How to Get Through a Telephone Interview

Posted by | April 24, 2017 |

Telephone interview

Telephone Interview

Interviews come in many forms. While many of us are more familiar with being invited to a face-to-face interview with a business, some companies now opt for telephone interviews. This form of consultation is a fast and effective way for employers to screen potential job candidates prior to a formal meeting. Not only will they examine your ability to communicate and test your phone manner, but they also use this tool to double-check that the information on your CV is correct. Telephone interviews generally consist of a few standard questions that will help the employer get a better idea of what you want out of the job, and whether you’ll be the right fit. They usually last between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on the depth of the questions asked and the specialism of the job. If you’re feeling nervous about a telephone interview, here are a few tips to help you out.

Practise some interview questions that might come up during telephone interview

As with any interview, it’s crucial that you practise interview questions. But the main difference in telephone interviews is that you don’t have the advantage of using body language to help get your point across (unless it’s a video interview, tips on video interview here). This style of conversation is regularly used during our day-to-day interactions, so the mood may feel different over the phone. Instead, you should expect a quicker questioning pace. Questions could include: ‘Why do you want to leave your current job?’, ‘Why does this job interest you?’, ‘Walk me through your CV’, ‘Tell me about your responsibilities in your current/last job’, ‘What would you say are your best achievements?’ and ‘Do you have any questions for me?’. This last question is always the kicker; that’s why it’s vital that you plan some questions to ask back to the interviewer. This not only looks good to the employer, but it’s also your opportunity to do some digging. Ask about the company’s ethos or whether there’s chance to progress in the job role.

Research the company

Interviews all are about research, research, research. The company wants to know that you’re showing an interest in what they do and that you truly understand their industry. Take the time to research the history of the company, the services that they offer, and their personal position within their industry. You aren’t expected to become a walking biography about the business, but showing a keen interest in them can only be a good thing. Plus, you’ll be more than prepared if they ask you any questions about what they do. Brownie points are an interviewee’s best friend.

Keep your CV close by

The only information that the interviewer has about you is your CV (and perhaps a cover letter, too). As they’ll be referencing that information throughout your telephone interview, it’s important to keep it close by so that you can double-check your facts. It’s easy to freeze during an interview, so it’ll act as a sort of cheat sheet. They’ll likely ask you about your work experience and skills, so you should be able to predict the sort of questions that will come up when you have your CV there.

Turn off any distractions that can interrupt the interview 

Removing any distractions in the room around you is crucial to a successful phone interview. In this moment, you need complete focus. If you have the TV or radio on, make sure you turn them off beforehand. You’ll be surprised how difficult it is to pay attention to the interviewer when your eyes are focussed on something else. Step into the quietest, calmest room in your home, away from family members, friends, and even pets. While you may feel some comfort in them being there, it’s easy to get put off by someone else’s activities in the room. Finally, make sure you put your phone on silent (not just vibrate!). Message alerts every 5 minutes can be incredibly distracting to you and sound very unprofessional to the person on the other end of the phone. They’re likely to hear any background noise as much as you can (they’ll know if you’re petting your cat during the call!).

Really listen and concentrate  during telephone interview 

Continuing the last point, it can be easy to get a little distracted while you’re on the phone. You aren’t in a formal setting and you can’t really visualise what the person you’re speaking to looks like. So instead, your eyes drift to the scenery around you. This, however, can be detrimental to the success of your telephone interview. While you may be listening to the interviewer, you may not really be taking in what they’re saying. It’s important to shut yourself off from the world around you and listen to every word they speak. Listen to how they phrase specific questions and their tone of voice, then make small notes throughout so that you can really consider every element of their questions. It could be handy to refer back to these notes later on in the telephone interview.

Act professionally

Although face-to-face interviews and telephone interviews are two very different scenarios, they should be treated in very much a similar way. We recommend that you dress like you’re attending an interview and prepare in advance. The interviewer may not be able to see you, but it could put you in a professional mindset (we imagine that it’d be pretty difficult to feel professional when you’re lying on the sofa wearing joggers stained with last night’s dinner!).

Act professionally 2

Do not eat or smoke whilst on the phone. Make sure you get up early to eat breakfast or sit down to enjoy lunch a good while before the interview. However quiet you try to be, the interviewer will catch wind that you’re munching on a sandwich mid-conversation. You shouldn’t eat, but it is advised that you fetch a glass of water for your interview to keep hydrated. Lastly, never interrupt the interviewer. No-one likes being spoken over, especially when they’re trying to relay information over to you. Instead of barging in with your answer to their question, wait a moment to double-check that they’ve finished speaking. But on that note, don’t wait too long. Then you could reach awkward silence territory.

Once you have the confidence to pass any telephone interview. Next stage is to find local jobs in Peterborough . Good luck!