Telephone interviews are on the rise, they bring the benefit of speed to the interview process which can be a good thing at it generally means a quicker interview, reduced travel costs, eliminates travel time and helps to move candidates quickly through the hiring process. However there are a number of pitfalls when interviewing by telephone that are easily avoided. Below are 8 tips that can help you avoid those pitfalls and create the best possible impression.
Try to avoid conducting the interview in a busy, noisy environment. Choose a private place where you will not be disturbed as this will allow you to fully concentrate. Ensure you allow enough time for the interview and do not assume it will be a ‘quick ten minutes.’ If possible use a landline for receiving the call or if you have to use a mobile phone ensure you are in an area with a good signal – as poor mobile phone reception is the single biggest reason why many telephone interviews fail to take place or if the phone line quality is poor this may reflect on you.
Use this fantastic opportunity to have your notes, CV and list of questions in front of you during the interview. Make sure you summarise your notes focussing on key points to avoid scripted answers, repetition and not getting to the point.
3) Ask the interviewer/s to rephrase or repeat
If you think you have not fully understood their question or comment, either ask the interviewer/s to rephrase or if appropriate paraphrase the question or comment back. You should always try to avoid doing this repeatedly but it is better to get your answer right first time.
4) Ensure the smooth flow of conversation
Don’t be so busy taking notes that you don’t hear the next part of the interviewer’s conversation, as this can lead to stilted conversation or awkward silences. Leave healthy pauses after every two or three sentences this will allow the interviewer/s to either drill further down or confirm they have heard enough.
5) Vary your pace, pitch, tone and smile
It is very difficult to convey energy and empathy over the telephone so it’s important that you vary your speech throughout the interview as the monotone interview is the killer of all interviews! Smile when you are talking on the phone, especially at the beginning of the interview as this will bring a sense of “warmth” to your voice.
6) Practice talking through your CV
The structure of telephone interviews will often vary but a standard format will be based around your CV so plan ahead and be prepared. If you are asked by the interviewer/s to talk through your career history and qualifications etc. you should qualify with the interviewer/s how long this should last. Does the interviewer/s want a 30 second elevator pitch or a detailed 30 minute conversation? Either way, plan ahead and be prepared!
7) Build a rapport early
As with all interviews first impressions count. Good interviewers will try to break the ice early on. Reciprocate and avoid coming across as aloof or cold but don’t over do it.
8) Ask Questions
Have a list of questions prepared and tick off each question when/if the interviewer/s has covered it (further details of the company, job role package etc.). Like most interviews you will get a chance to ask questions. If the interviewer/s has a solid day of telephone interviews you will probably stand out more if you ask an insightful question about the business/role and more importantly about them but refrain from asking questions for the sake of it.
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