15 Top Tips for Your Telephone Interview
Due to the sheer number of candidates that apply for jobs which have been advertised on job boards all over the internet, there is a good chance that your first job interview will be a telephone interview. Recruiters and hiring managers simply do not have the time to meet with every candidate and therefore telephone interviews are becoming used far more as a way to weed out the good candidates from the bad.
A telephone interview will usually be a screening interview, where your resume has impressed but is not quite enough to initially impress the hiring manager. This means that your telephone interview is your chance to impress and get your experience, knowledge and talent across to the hiring manager to ensure that the next candidate that is interviewed is you.
A telephone interview is likely to be the most difficult interview that you will face as it’s just you and the voice at the end of the telephone. You have no idea what he/she looks like or what they are doing whilst you’re talking. Maybe they’re listening to each and every word you’re saying, but for all you know, you could be on a loud speaker whilst the interviewer at the other end of the line is busy working on their emails and only partially paying attention to you.
In a normal face-to-face interview, you’re given the opportunity to build rapport with your interviewer and sitting opposite to them gives you the opportunity to use their body language to influence how you answer interview questions. If you see the interviewer nodding away to what you’re saying, it’s more than likely you’re on the right track with your answers.
With a telephone interview, you only have your voice and therefore you need to prepare and ensure that you come across in the right way. Below are 15 points to help you with your telephone interview and ensure the next telephone interview you’re involved with in a success.
You Sound How You Dress – If you don’t really care about your dress code, then you will sound like you don’t care. To really sound your best down the telephone, you need to make sure that you look the part with a suit, shirt and tie. Dress the Part, Act the Part and you will Sound the Part.
Always Use A Landline – Cell Phone service is never 100% reliable no matter where you are and the last thing you want is the service to temporally run out or partially drop during your interview. If you do not have a land line and, therefore, have to use your mobile, just make sure that you’re in a quiet place with as much cell phone service as possible, and your battery is fully charged. The number of candidates that I have interviewed where their battery ran out during the interview still amazes me to the day. If I am having a good day, I would try and call you back, but if I am having a bad day and have not been impressed with what you have said so far, it’s more than likely your interview is over.
Always Stand Up When You Speak – I started my career in a “sales centre” which I consider to be the only mistake in my career. I only lasted 6 months as I was not very good at “closing on the telephone.” I did not learn many things from this experience, however, one thing I did learn was that you need to stand up when you speak on the telephone. Why? Well when you’re standing, you naturally project more confidence and energy into your voice which will help give the image that you are a confident person. Hiring managers will like this enthusiasm.
If You Insist On Sitting – make sure that you sit in an office style chair, keep your back straight, chin up and your shoulders are horizontal. All this will help to project confidence into your voice and show your confidence and enthusiasm to the hiring manager.
Make Sure You Smile – There’s an old phrase my boss used to tell me in my first sales job, Smile and Dial….!! If you are grumpy and frown whilst you are on the telephone this will be projected into your voice and when you’re trying to the give the impression that you’re a confident, fun loving employee, the last thing that you need to show is your grumpiness.
Never Use a Speaker Phone – Nothing drives me crazier on the telephone than the other person having me on a speaker phone. You cannot really hear what the other party is saying and to be honest it’s quite rude and really shows that you would prefer to do whatever else you’re doing rather than speaking with me.
Pauses – Public speakers use pauses in their speech as a way of exaggerating a specific word or sentence. This can be really helpful during a telephone interview as it gives the interviewer times to digest what you have just said and make reference to specific points that you want to focus on during your telephone interview.
Hands-Free – Never a bad idea, although my advice is to find out what you sound like before you actually try it.
Don’t Stand Outside – I once had a telephone interview with a candidate who stood outside on the side of the road. I could not understand half what he was saying and the 30-second gap in the middle when the police car went by did not help. Get organised, standing on the side of the road simply says that either you do not care, or you were not organised enough to find somewhere quiet to take the phone call. Both are not things you need in an interview and do not put you in a good light.
Keep your Resume in Front of You – Also make sure you have some paper and a pen.
Speak Slowly and Clearly – Even if you’re using a home telephone in a quiet room and your interviewer is in the same position, the telephone is never 100% perfect, so you need to make sure that you speak a little slower than normal and pronounce every individual word.
If you Cannot Hear The Recruiter – Interrupt and blame it on your phone…
Watch Out for Jokes and Sarcasm – Facial expression helps out with both jokes and sarcasm, however when you’re on the telephone, your interviewer will not be able to see your face. Maintain your professionalism and stay on target.
No Eating or Chewing Gum – Obvious I know, but it’s amazing how many times someone pops something into their mouth right at the wrong time.
Take a Drink with You – Nothing wrong with having a glass of water nearby that you can drink during the interview to stop your mouth becoming dry, however do watch out when you decide to take a sip.
Prepare Interview Questions Beforehand – There is no excuse to not have any questions to ask at the end of your interview. Asking questions is a vital part of any job interview and shows that you have thought about the interview and are taking the whole process seriously. Often in a standard interview when candidates do not ask question, you could be forgiven, but in a telephone interview you can easily have them written in front of you meaning there is no excuse.
Do you have any good telephone interview tips that you could share? I am sure that I have a good selection of the most vital telephone interview tips, but I am also sure there are others.
Originally published on Thomas Greig’s Career advice: thomasgreig.com