Phone-based job interviews are more common than ever. If you want to land a new job, consider these telephone interview tips to avoid common mistakes and gain an edge over other applicants.
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In a busy and competitive job market, hiring managers are looking to find ways to make the hiring process more efficient. Remote initial interviews are one example of this. Though there are some similarities between the two, communication matters far more than presentation in telephone interviews.
Just as many large companies have started using applicant tracking systems (ATS) to filter job applications and CVs, recruiters for large companies often complete initial interviews via phone. This is a resource and time-efficient way to screen candidates with promising CVs quickly. Those who excel in phone interviews will often be invited for an in-person follow-up interview. So, it pays to brush up on your phone interview skills if you’re looking for a new job.
A traditional, face-to-face interview relies partly on body language and presentation. Because you will not be able to rely on this in a phone interview, it is important that you practice clear communication. The hiring manager will be focussed on what you have to say and how you say it.
You should research the history and ethos of the company you have applied to before a phone interview, just as you would for an in-person interview. Highlight parts of the company’s history or self-identified values that appeal to you. Your interviewer may ask why you want to work for the company and being able to answer promptly and confidently will make a good first impression.
Preparation is key, but that doesn’t mean you should script answers. Instead, consider common interview questions and ask people you know to help you prepare. Undertake some mock interviews before your phone interview. This will help you to get comfortable and answer questions naturally.
Because a phone interview is likely to take place in your home, you should clear a space free of distractions ahead of your interview. This is of particular importance if it is your first interview, but is always advisable. Make sure that your TV is off to minimize background noise. You should also let anyone in your home know that you will be unavailable during the period around the interview.
Print a copy of your CV and keep it with you during your video or phone interview in case the recruiter wants to discuss something specific from your background.
At the end of an interview, it is common for hiring managers to ask if you have any questions. This is your opportunity to find out if the company will be a great match. Make it work for you by asking the best questions to ask the employer about the company culture and job description. Don’t be afraid to be honest and curious if you want to get a second interview.
Soft skills are very important in the job market right now with recruiters in every industry looking for people who can communicate, solve problems and think creatively. A phone interview is the first real opportunity to showcase these skills, so you need to put your best foot forward.
Conducting a phone interview requires a specific skill set. If you want to impress potential employers and land your dream job, follow these good phone interview tips:
Ensure you are ready to begin five minutes before the phone call starts. You want to answer the call confidently and calmly, not in a rushed or stressed manner. Have a glass of water close by in case you need it.
Hiring managers will be listening to the tone of your voice carefully. Stay cheerful and calm, and try to speak clearly. If you are asked questions about previous employers, be positive, even if the experience was not. Do not bad-mouth past employers, managers, or co-workers as this can stop you from getting a second interview.
Take your time to think about your answers and questions. Don’t be afraid of short silences or small talk. Recruiters will be trying to gauge your personality as well as your skills. This is a normal part of the interview process.
Jot down important details and questions that come to mind throughout the interview. This will help you to keep track of your thoughts and the details of the interview.
If you want to really impress a potential employer, send a follow-up thank you note after your interview. This will help you to stick in the recruiter’s mind.
Perhaps the best career advice anyone can give is to practice your phone call mannerisms and communication skills regularly. Remember that both the tone and speed of your voice will have an impact.
One of the most common mistakes that job seekers make in initial phone interviews is to discuss salary expectations. Leave this for further along in the hiring process.
Unless your phone interview also has a video feed, it is up to you whether you dress formally for a telephone interview. If there is a video element you should dress as if you are attending an in-person interview. If there is not, you should dress how you feel most comfortable and confident, as this will enable you to be your best self.
Whether you send a letter or an email as a follow-up after your initial interview is a small detail, but it can make a difference. If you are applying to a company that has a traditional image, a physical thank-you note may be ideal. A more modern company, however, may prefer an email.
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