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Job Tips

8 Quick and easy tips for phone interview success

Phone interviews are becoming a more common method in the interview screening process with 60% of under 34 years old completing a phone interview compared to 32% of 45 to 50-year-olds according to a survey by Shortlister.com.

Telephone interviews are usually conducted in the early stages of the recruitment process to narrow down the number of applicants.

Phone interviews are conducted by both recruitment consultants, to assess a) if it is a job role that you are interested in and b) whether you are the right fit to put forward to a client. They're also conducted by potential new employers, especially if the key people are not in the same office or city and juggling diaries are difficult.

If you have a phone interview scheduled soon, don't panic, just make sure you prepare. You can follow these eight tips to best perform and achieve interview success.

1. Cut out all distractions
Put the dog in the kitchen and tell the children to go and play in their rooms if you need to. You need to focus and to do this you don't need any interruptions, it also sounds unprofessional if there are disturbances in the background.

Tip - If you have a noisy household take the call from your car where you won't be disturbed, you don't have to drive anywhere you can stay on the drive.

2. Have your CV in front of you
Your recruitment consultant or potential new employer will have your CV in front of them, so it's almost a given that they will ask you about your past experiences, qualifications and education. As in a real interview, think about your answers to any questions you may be asked and write some notes down beforehand.

Make sure you have your CV in front of you to re-jog your memory on what you wrote. It would also be helpful to have a pen and notepad at hand to take any relevant notes.

Tip - You have the added advantage that the interviewer can only hear you not see you, so really use this to pre-write notes to questions that may come up - even bullet point prompts on a card to help you.

3. Make a list of your USPs (Unique Selling Points)
Consider your strengths and list the things that might set you aside from other candidates. Remember, there are likely to be many other applicants applying for the same position so you need to make the recruiter aware of why they should employ you and not another candidate. You can also refer to these when the interviewer asks about yourself and why you would be suitable for the role.

4. Remember to smile
Even though your interviewer can't see you, it's important to smile when you speak. It makes a big difference to your tone of voice and it helps ensure you sound upbeat. The interviewer wants to know you enthusiastic about this job position and that you're genuinely interested. Make sure your tone of voice conveys this.

Tip - If using your mobile make sure it's charged and you are in a good service area

5. Listen to the interviewer
This is probably one of, if not the most important tip to a telephone interview. Make sure you listen to the interviewer to ensure you grasp their questions and pay attention to information they're providing. It may be helpful to write notes of information for future reference. Remember, you can ask questions if you don't understand.

6. Write down any questions you want to ask
It is likely that your interviewer will ask if you have any questions throughout the interview and/or at the end of the interview. It is a good opportunity for you to find out more about the role you've applied for, the company you could potentially be working for and if there are any future opportunities within the company. This is where a pen and notepad will come in handy for note taking. It also shows that you're inquisitive.

7. Do your research
You might be asked questions like; "Why do you want to work for [company name]?" "What projects or work have we carried out that have particularly interested you?" And so forth, you want to be prepared for questions like these. It is also a good chance to impress the interviewer by showing that you've done your research on the company by reading their website and social media, and news articles.

Tip - As a courteous touch, after the telephone interview, send a follow-up thank you email

Telephone interviews are just as important as face to face interviews and conveying the right degree of professionalism is vital to get you through to the second phase. Follow these proven tips for telephone interview success and you will succeed - good luck!