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Career Advice

5 Ways to Handle a Phone Interview

With so many candidates vying for every job these days, it’s becoming increasingly popular for employers to start their initial recruitment process by holding telephone interviews. PhoneCall1For them it’s a much more convenient way of shortlisting which candidates they meet face to face. For those of us who are candidates however it can be somewhat daunting and unnerving. It needn’t be like that however, provided you get some basics right. Here are a few of our suggestions that should help – 5 Ways to Handle a Phone Interview.

Be Prepared

First of all, it’s essential to remember that this is an interview just like any other and that preparation is key. You would not expect to go into a standard face to face interview without having done any preparation, nor should you with a phone interview. You may not have to be suited and booted admittedly but you will still have to be ‘interview ready’. For a phone interview that means having your CV or application form in front of you, a copy of the job spec or ad or any notes you have made about the job. Also, have a pen and paper at hand so that you can take down any relevant information or notes during the interview itself.

Get rid of distractions

In virtually all cases, employers will schedule a time for your phone interview in advance. Therefore it’s essential that you plan accordingly and choose where your interview will take place. If you are at home, make sure that you are in a room alone where you won’t be interrupted. Ensure that other family members or friends leave you be for the duration of the interview. Avoid distractions like pets or TV or radio in the background. In order to both concentrate on the interview and appear truly professional, you will need to be alone and distraction free. If you can’t be at home, make sure you choose somewhere again where you will not be interrupted, with minimal or no background noise.

Do your research

Undertaking some research on the company before your phone interview is essential too. In order to impress the employer, you need to come across as knowledgeable and prove that you are genuinely interested in the post. Finding out what you can about both the job itself and the organisation in advance is an absolute must. There are all sorts of places that can help you do this research – from the company website to news articles and trade magazines. Don’t assume that this is only something that you should do for a face to face interview.

Have questions ready

At the start of the phone interview, the interviewer will most likely introduce themselves and give you an outline of what to expect – how long the interview is likely to take, how many questions they will be asking etc. They will also generally provide you with the opportunity (generally at the end) to ask them some questions. This is where the research you have done can come in particularly handy. Make note of a few questions that you could ask. They may be about the other stages in the recruitment process, company training or perhaps another aspect of the job itself. Some of your questions may already be answered over the course of the call by the interviewer. It’s important therefore to have a good 4-5 questions on a variety of areas ready so that you can come across as an interested and credible candidate.

Practice your telephone voice

During a regular interview, an employer will form an impression of you based on all sorts of things. Your answers of course, but also, things like your body language, your eye contact and how you even enter the interview room. During a phone interview they only have your voice to go on and how you come across. It’s essential therefore to ensure that you get your telephone voice ready. Practice speaking clearly and slowly. Make sure that you don’t be over familiar or use slang words or colloquialisms. Also ensure that you appear pleasant. A smile may not be visible over the phone but you can still convey the impression that you are smiling and thereby a pleasant sort of character.

If you’re faced with a phone interview soon, we hope that this tips on how to handle just that will help. Got any others that you’d like to share? Why not let us know via the comments section below.

Still feel that you need more interview advice? Check out Anson Reed, specialists in online interview training and 1-2-1 Interview coaching.



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