Telephone interview guide

Your quick guide to telephone interviews

As they’re receiving more and more applications by the day, hiring managers are increasingly turning to telephone interviews as a means of sifting through vast numbers of candidates. Although phone interviews allow candidates to get that proverbial foot in the door, they can also lure you into a false sense of security – because they lack the immediacy of a face-to-face interview and can take place in your home. Here are some tips to make sure you handle them the right way.

Avoid distractions

Make sure you’ve got the perfect conditions for a formal conversation. Get everyone out of the room, turn off the stereo and the TV and close the door. Ideally, use a landline instead of your mobile, just in case you lose reception. Don’t smoke, chew gum, eat or drink (unless you’re having a sip of water!).

Rehearse – but keep it natural

Practice your answers to avoid all the ‘erms’ and awkward silences (but jot them down in note form so that your responses during the interview are natural and coherent).

Smile!

It sounds strange, but smiling will automatically bring more positivity and enthusiasm to your voice. It can also be helpful to stand during the interview, as this gives your voice more energy and confidence.

Take your time

Don’t rush through your answers. The interviewer won’t take anything in and you’ll only sound nervous. Speak at a sensible pace and enunciate clearly will give you the time to think about what you’re saying and to emphasise the important bits. Not only will your answers be clear but you’ll also come across as professional and in control.

Give short answers

Be concise and to the point. This is especially important when you don’t have the visual cues to tell you the interviewer wants to interject or is just getting bored. There’ll be more time to go into detail in the face-to-face interview.

Be ready for the doubts

As they’re using this initial stage to filter out any candidates that might not be suitable, the hiring manager will be perfectly comfortable highlighting any apparent differences between your experience and the requirements of the job. So you need to show them that you can adapt. If the interviewer’s concerned that you don’t have experience in a specific aspect of the job, reassure them that you’re a fast learner and that you’d be happy to do some training. Asking them what training they provide shows that you’re willing to learn.

If you need more advice on finding a new role, speak to one of our consultants to see how we can help you.