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Telephone Interview Tips

Sally September 28th, 2012
By Sally

Current market trends dictate that more and more candidates are applying for the same jobs.  Consequently interviewers are increasingly using telephone interviews as an initial method of screening applicants.  Of course this method of interviewing has practical advantages when applying for jobs abroad or in other parts of the country.

An employer who is unable to contact you is likely to leave a message for you on your answering machine.  Make sure that your greeting is professional.  Silly messages or the theme tune to your favourite film never goes down too well!

Generally a lot is said about face to face interview technique and rightly so, as good technique will obviously give you a competitive edge over other candidates in the frame.  However, not so much is said about telephone interview technique. It has been reported however that 80% of telephone interviewers have made their decision on the candidate during the first 5 minutes of the call.  Bearing this in mind, it is essential to prepare for the call and consider how to improve your current technique.

Here are a few general pointers.

Ensure that your contact information is accurate 

I know its stating the obvious, but ensure that your contact details on your CV are up to date with the correct contact information.  An interviewer won’t want to waste time trying to contact you if you have changed home address, telephone number or email address.

Be professional

An employer who is unable to contact you is likely to leave a message for you on your answering machine.  Make sure that your greeting is professional.  Silly messages or the theme tune to your favourite film never goes down too well!

Get comfortable

Many people prefer to stand whilst speaking over the phone as they feel they can project their voice better. Researchers have found that whilst standing, people tend to sound more professional than when sitting. Some interviewees on the other hand say that they feel calmer and more relaxed when sitting.  Either way, get comfortable as the call might go on longer than planned!

Memory aids

Flash cards would be a useful addition to any telephone interview as they will provide you with general outlines of the key things you want to mention during the course of the interview. Ensure however that you don’t just read reams of text as you will sound too scripted. Keep your CV to hand also to help you recall details of past employment, training and work experience.

The use of silence

Quite often people rush to fill in natural gaps in conversation with garbled chatter, as silence makes them feel uncomfortable. If you have finished answering a question and your interviewer doesn’t immediately ask another question don’t rush to fill in the gaps! Silence can be good as it gives both parties time to consider questions and responses. Being comfortable with silence also shows confidence. 

Other practicalities

Take a note of the interviewers name and the organisation they are calling from as soon as they give you this information. If you are unsure of these details confirm them before you move on.
Don’t eat or chew gum during the call and never place the interviewer on speaker phone. If you are to take the call on your mobile, ensure you are in a good location that is free of distractions, with a good signal.  

Finally...

Thank the interviewer once the interview is complete and give positive feedback if you like the sound of what you have heard.

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