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Tips for acing a telephone interview

Category: Interview tips 

Telephone interviews can be as daunting as face to face interview. Not only because it’s a job interview but you have to convey yourself over a different means, then you would normally in a face-to-face interview. While you’re actively job searching, it is important to be prepared to have either a telephone interview as well as a face-to-face. You never know when either a recruiter or networking contact might get in touch asking if you have a couple of minutes to talk, so it’s important to answer the phone professionally, especially if the number is an unfamiliar one.

Prepping for a telephone interview is just as important and prepping for a face-to-face one. Compiling a list of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as a list of answers to typical phone interview questions, also in addition, have a list of questions to ask the interviewer. If you do have advance notice of the interview, make sure that you are able to review the job description and do a bit of research on the company as you normally would for any other interview. In addition, make sure that you’re comfortable and ready to discuss your background and skills during the phone conversation.

Practice interviewing;

Talking on the phone isn’t always as easy as it seems. As with an in-person interview, practice can be helpful. Not only will this help you rehearse answers to common phone interview questions, but it will also help you realize and pick up on any verbal problems, such as speaking either too quick or too slowly. Practice can be crucial; it may seem silly but either have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview & record it. By doing so you’ll be able to hear any “ums”, “ughs” and “oks” you may say, listing back to the recording will help you pinpoint anything you may have to change, improve & develop on.

Before the interview;

Before the telephone interview, make sure that you’ve confirmed all the details, such as the date, time and who you will be talking to. Make sure that you know whether the interviewer is calling you or vice-versa, also make sure that you will be in a quiet, comfortable, and private space with no distractions so you will be able to focus on the interview.

Phone interview etiquette -

There are certain guidelines which you should follow for the appropriate phone interview etiquette, so you’ll be able to make the best impression on your interviewer.

  • Answering the phone yourself; Make sure that you let anyone know who may answer the phone know that you’re expecting a call. When you answer the phone make sure that you answer with your name, so that the interviewer knows that they have reached the right person
  • Use the interviewer’s title; During the course of the telephone interview, make sure that you’re using appropriate titles (Mr. or Ms. and their last name) Only use their first name if they ask you to. Otherwise, make sure that you use their formal title.
  • Listen carefully to the interviewer; Make sure that you aren’t talking over the interviewer, start speaking until the interview has finished the proposed question. If you do have something to say, jot it down and mention it when applicable.
  • Don’t worry if you need a few seconds to think of a response; Also don’t leave too much dead air, if you do need the interviewer to repeat the question, ask.

Phone interview Tips –

There are certain tips that can make or break a telephone interview. So by following the below it will help you minimize any problems you may experience during a telephone interview.

  • Keep a copy of your CV near; It will enable you to answer any questions which could arise.
  • List of accomplishments.
  • Have a pen and paper handy.
  • Turn call-waiting off.
  • If the time isn’t convenient, ask if you could talk at another time & suggest some alternatives.
  • Clear the room; Enables you to go into the interview with a clear mind without any distractions.
  • If you do have a landline use that instead of your mobile phone; That way you will be able to eliminate poor reception or dropped calls.

Do’s & Don’ts during a telephone interview.

DON’T Smoke, chew gum, eat or drink.

DO Keep a glass of water handy, in case you need to wet your mouth.

DO Smile. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice. It can also be helpful to stand during the interview since it will give your voice more energy and enthusiasm.

DO Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.

DO Use the person’s title. Only use their first name if they ask you to.

DON’T Interrupt the interviewer.

DO Take your time – it’s perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to collect your thoughts.

DO Take notes when possible on what questions came up.

DO Give short answers.

DO Remember your goal is to set up a face-to-face interview. At the end, thank the interview and ask whether it would be possible to meet in person.

After the Interview;

Make sure to say thank you to the interviewer. Once the interview is over, carefully review any notes you have taken throughout the conversation. Jot down what types of questions you were asked, how you responded, and any follow up questions you may have.

Following all of the above, you should be able to ace any telephone interview & will be well equipped to do so!