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Career Advice

How to Handle a Telephone Interview

telephone interviewWhether it’s with a recruitment agency or an employer directly, these days it’s becoming increasingly common for the initial stages of the recruitment process to be done by telephone. Sometimes it’s for cost reasons, other times it’s simply to help with the initial screening of candidates. Whatever the reason for a telephone interview, the critical thing that you as a candidate should do is prepare. Here are a few of our suggestions on how to handle a telephone interview that we hope will help you do just that.

Remember – location matters

You’ll have been told the time when your interview will take place. It’s vital that you ensure that when that time arrives, you are in the right environment. Make sure that you are somewhere quiet, somewhere where you won’t be interrupted and somewhere that is distraction free. Not only is it vital that your interviewer can clearly hear your responses, but it’s also vital that you can clearly hear what they are asking you!

Practice your telephone voice

Whilst we are not suggesting that you adopt an entirely new manner of speaking for your interview, what we are suggesting is that you practice speaking clearly and at a pace that makes it easy to be understood. You might be in your own little cosy home environment, but that doesn’t mean that you should be casual or laid back in your vocal demeanour. Remember – colloquialisms and slang words don’t have any place in a job interview – whether it’s on the phone or not.

Paperwork at the ready

Even if you know your CV inside out, you should still have a copy to hand during the telephone interview. The same applies for the job application form – a hard copy at hand is a must. Your interviewer will be using it as a source of reference for their questions and it is essential that you remember what you’ve written. Having a copy of your CV or application form at hand that you can immediately refer to will help you do just that.

Do your research

Although you may not be having a face to face meeting with the employer or recruiter, you should still treat a telephone interview as you would a regular interview. Undertaking company research is essential. Find out all you can on the company, the role itself, their competitors even. You ought to always be prepared to answer that stereotypical question – “What do you know about us?” – finding out as much as you can in advance therefore is an absolute must. These tips on researching companies for interview should also help.

Be prepared

It’s pretty likely that during the interview you will want to scribble down a few notes. It might be information about the next stage of the recruitment process or it might even be more details about the job itself. The important thing though is that you anticipate that you will want to do this note taking by being prepared. How? Well by having a pen and paper to hand of course! After all, a pen and paper are those items that are seemingly impossible to find when you need them most. Have them beside you ready to scribble and jot down notes to your heart’s content.



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