So, your CV was impressive, you’ve caught the attention of a potential employer, and now they want to find out more about you over the phone. Great! But, how should an interview over the phone be planned for and executed?
The fact that your interview is taking place over the phone does not make it any less important or any less formal. So, to make sure that you’re making a great impression to the interviewer over the phone and really setting yourself apart from other candidates, follow the steps below.
It’s incredibly important that you prepare for your interview just as you normally would if meeting that person face-to-face. Being nervous is a given when being interviewed, so it will dramatically help to do the groundwork in advance.
Undertake the usual routine of researching the employer thoroughly beforehand, understanding the fundamentals of the business and how they’re performing, alongside reading up on the job specification. Each job will be slightly different from the next regardless of its title, so don’t assume you know it all!
A major benefit of having an interview over the phone is that you can have notes in front of you. Preparing a few questions, some headline facts of the business or a few talking points will help to jog your memory when faced with a difficult question or refrain you from forgetting something that you wanted to cover. Ensure that these notes are not too detailed, and make sure that the interviewer will not be able to hear the paper ruffling when you are using them.
Brush up on your verbal communication
The interviewer will not be able to read your body language through the phone, so their impression of you will be entirely verbal.
To stand you in good stead, it helps to practice the questions that typically arise for the role you’re applying for over the phone to a friend, with a family member, or through recording yourself and playing it back.
Doing this will help with behaviours that you may otherwise not be aware of. This could include talking too fast, talking too slow, mumbling, or using lots of filler words when speaking, for example ‘umm’ or ‘like’.
Get ready for the interview to commence
About 30 minutes prior to when you are expecting the phone call, it’s important to take the correct precautions and organise yourself.
Calm any nerves you may have by drinking some water and ensure that you’re physically ready for the interview so that psychologically you will be in the correct mindset. For example, get dressed into something that isn’t too laid back if you’re taking the call from home. If you don’t feel professional, then you’re less likely to sound professional.
Check that you have good signal on your phone, or a good Wi-Fi connection if the call is being performed through the internet, and make sure that you have enough battery. Then, locate yourself somewhere where you are unlikely to be disturbed, turning off the TV and radio if you’re at home, alongside making whoever you live with aware of what’s going on so that they can give you some peace and quiet.
Lastly, ensure that you’re clear on who is calling you and their title to avoid any awkwardness further on in the conversation. Check your emails for this if this is how the interview was officially granted.
During the interview
Your body language can make a huge difference to how you sound and come across, so ensure that you’re sitting upright, ideally at a desk if possible.
Answer the phone in a professional manner – ‘’Hello, John speaking’’ will be fine.
Do not multitask whilst you’re on the phone, as this will be perceived as rude and could destroy your chances of being hired or invited for another interview. So, avoid doing things such as answering texts, eating, feeding your pets and so on. Distractions like these could also hinder the responses you give or mean that you miss something important through a lack of concentration.
As you’re not physically there with the interviewer, knowing when they are about to say something can be difficult, as this is usually indicated through body language. Therefore, pay close attention to where the conversation is going and speak at a reasonable pace to avoid interrupting the interviewer. If there’s something really you want to say, be patient.
Whatever you do, do not dominate the conversation. As much as interviews are designed to find out more information about the client, it’s important to relay your interest too, so listen and be attentive.
Lastly, make sure that you’re enthusiastic! No one will want to hire you if you seem uninterested about the prospect of joining their team.
Finishing the phone call
Try to end the interview with some questions of your own. This will show the employer that you’re highly interested in the job, potentially giving you the edge over another candidate.
Dependant on the role you’re going for, you could ask questions like ‘What does a typical day look like here?’ ‘What’s the company and team culture like?’ ‘Are there any opportunities for advancement or professional development?’
Next, thank the interviewer for their time and make sure that you get clarity over what happens next if they haven’t already done so. Find out when you should expect to hear back from them, what the next step in the process is, if there’s any work of your own that you can send over if the role is of a creative nature, or anything you should be researching in the meantime.