So you've just heard back from that job you applied for, and it's good news: they were impressed with your CV, and you've made it through to the interview stage. However, this won't be a traditional, face-to-face job interview - as it turns out, this particular employer prefers to do things over the phone.
You might be pleased to hear this at first. On paper, a telephone interview sounds quite a bit easier than the alternative: no need to get a haircut, no need to iron your interview suit, no need to worry about how you're going to get there on time. All you have to do is pick up the phone and have a conversation. Simple, right?
But being interviewed over the phone rather than meeting your potential employer in the flesh does have its disadvantages. For example...
- The employer won't be able to connect with you in quite the same way as if you were right there in front of them. Facial expressions and body language are important when you're trying to get someone to warm to you, but you can't rely on them during a phone interview - instead, you're forced to present yourself well and get your points across using speech alone.
- Similarly, you won't be able to use the interviewer's physical cues to assess how well (or not) the interview is going. It can be difficult to give a relaxed and confident performance when you don't know whether the person you're talking to is smiling or frowning.
- Telephone interviews tend to be shorter and less in-depth than traditional job interviews, which leaves you with a significantly smaller window of opportunity. Less time means fewer chances to talk yourself up and persuade the interviewer of your suitability for the role.
- While it can be nice to conduct a job interview from the comfort of your own living room, the home environment can be distracting and detrimental to the professional image you're trying to project. Many a remote interview has been interrupted by a child or pet wandering into the room at an inopportune moment, and even if you're home alone, there's still a chance that the doorbell will ring, or that you'll get sidetracked by one of the many other things vying for your attention.
By now, you should be beginning to realise that telephone interviews aren't necessarily the walk in the park that they may resemble at first glance. There are a lot of obstacles to overcome, and we haven't even mentioned the fact that some people genuinely struggle to talk on the phone (even if they're perfectly outgoing and eloquent in person).
But don't despair - you can still ace your phone interview and land the job of your dreams without a hitch. To help you do so, here are five top telephone interview tips from the experts here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions:
1. Choose the right space.
Our phones go everywhere we go nowadays, which means that it's possible to take calls in the park, the car, the supermarket, and just about anywhere else you fancy. However, if at all possible, you should avoid conducting a job interview while on the go; instead, find a quiet, secluded room where you can be fairly certain you won't be interrupted. Try to choose somewhere with as few distractions and diversions as possible.
2. Focus on the task at hand.
Ideally, you shouldn't be doing anything else while you're being interviewed. You wouldn't doodle or surf the web or watch TV during a face-to-face job interview, so you should absolutely avoid those activities when on the phone. And don't eat anything during the call - it's impolite, and the person on the other end might have a hard time understanding you with your mouth full.
3. Make notes beforehand.
It never hurts to prepare. Keep your CV handy throughout the call (along with your cover letter, the company's details, and anything else that might prove useful) so that you can quickly refer to key information as necessary. Before the interview, you may also wish to draft answers to common questions so that you won't 'um' and 'ah' too much when you're in the hot seat. If you don't think it will be too much of a distraction, it might even be worth keeping a pen and some paper handy during the call itself so that you can make notes on the fly.
4. Don't speak too quickly.
During any sort of interview, it's easy to let your nerves get the better of you and speak too quickly to be understood. Before responding to each question, take a breath and remind yourself to answer slowly, steadily, and clearly. You'll come off a lot better for it, and the interviewer won't have to ask you to repeat yourself.
5. Be concise.
Just as it's important to try not to talk too fast, it's also important not to talk too much. Waffling on needlessly won't endear you to your potential employer - it's never fun to sit through a long, rambling answer, and it's even worse when you're on the phone and the physical cues we discussed earlier aren't present to make the monologue more engaging. If you really want to impress, answer each question in as few words as possible (while still making your point clear each time).