global recruitment specialists
How to prepare for a telephone interview
Kicking things off with a telephone interview is often the first step between you and the job you want. Just because phone interviews are a standard exercise for most industries, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't prepare well - and perform better. After all, if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.
So, with that in mind, here's our advice on how to prepare for your next telephone interview; both before, during and after the call.
Before your Telephone Interview
Our best piece of advice is to treat a telephone interview like you would a standard interview. The interviewer is only looking for the best and brightest candidates and even simple errors can ruin your chances, so come prepared…
Do your research; about the business, about the industry and about the person interviewing you. Ensure you've prepared all your answers to the standard interview questions and be ready to explain with enthusiasm why you want the role on offer. Unlike face to face interviews, you can make and use all the notes you want - ready to refer to when you're speaking.
Choose a suitable environment; somewhere quiet and cool, with good phone reception and reliable Wi-Fi signal. Using landline phones are always preferred for better signal, but if you're going to use your smartphone then don't forget to charge it. Being cut off due to low battery doesn't give a good impression.
Clear the distractions around you. Inform your family or housemates that you're not to be disturbed. Lock the door and try to get away from household noise of pets, siblings and TV's. Background noise hampers your ability to hear the questions and leaves you looking unprofessional.
Gather the following things. A telephone interview is made all the more easier by having:
- A copy of your CV – the interviewer will almost always ask you about it. Here's how to perfect yours.
- A drink (of water) – to avoid dry mouth moments.
- A pen and paper / laptop / tablet – to make all important notes.
- A professional outfit – The interviewer obviously can't see you, but a smart outfit sets the tone, which in turn helps you project the right mood when it comes to speaking. Read more about Dressing for Success here.
During your Telephone Interview
When it comes to the call, take a few deep breaths, answer the phone and dive in.
A good interviewer should always explain how the call is going to be structured. If this doesn't happen, then ask. There's more than likely a time limit, so adapt what you have to say around how long you've got. Talk for too long and you risk boring the other person, too short and you risk under-selling yourself.
The interviewer can only rely on your voice, speech and tone. So speak calmly, clearly and professionally to create the best impression. Yet, just because your body language can't be seen doesn't mean it can't be heard. Smile, relax, walk round, use your hands; act as if you were talking to someone face to face and the enthusiasm and optimism will come across in your voice – not just through the words you say.
After your Telephone Interview
Ensure you are aware of what the next steps are to find out you've been successful. Plus, out of courtesy it's well worth emailing the interviewer to thank them for their time. After all, if you want to stand out from the other sea of voices the interviewer has been listening to, it's the little things that count.
And if you're not successful? Then pick up the phone again and see if you can get some advice from the company.
What went well and what could be improved? That way you'll be even better prepared for when the next telephone interview comes along. Practising the process with friends and family beforehand will always help to settle nerves and give you the experience to make a great impression next time.
Looking for more career advice?