You’ve been invited to schedule a telephone conversation with a potential employer and suddenly you feel your shoulders relaxing and a sigh escaping your lips. A telephone interview, much easier than a face to face meeting – how hard can it be? Right?
Well, not quite. Telephone interviews are not, in fact a means of interviewing candidates without going through the bother of a face to face meeting, on the contrary actually, they are a great way of testing a candidate’s communication skills and a fantastic opportunity to see whether they sound as good as their CV makes out, a pre-screening interview you might say. Essentially it’s a way of seeing if you’re worth inviting into the office, but don’t tense up again just yet!
Rarely conducted but just as important as any other process, the telephone interview should be treated with as much preparation as any other kind of interview, if anything you have to work even harder than you would in an actual meeting – they say at the loss of one sense the others heighten, well get ready to heighten your potential employer’s senses because they won’t be able to see your bright smile, your smart suit or your professional greetings over the telephone so you’ll have to wow them with your excellent listening skills and your top of the range tone of voice.
Before the telephone rings
If you live with housemates, parents or children try to arrange a time when they will all be out of sight – if you absolutely cannot do that then make sure you let everyone know how important the call is and that you need to be able to concentrate. Find a quiet, calming space where you can focus and make sure you are comfortable.
While you can obviously wear whatever you want in your own house, it might be worth playing dress up just to look the part which will in turn help you feel the part! Smart appearance = Smart mind-frame, Pyjamas = mmmm, bed time!
Make sure you have the CV you sent to the employer in front of you, a copy of the job specification, some facts and figures you found from the research you conducted and perhaps some pre-prepared questions (none of which will have the words salary, benefits, company car or holiday pay included). A note pad with a pen would be mighty handy too.
Now, we’re not suggesting you should adopt a Daffy Duck character but it wouldn’t hurt to practise some diaphragm exercises just to ensure your voice is warmed up and ready for action. Smile while you speak because it will shine through your words and reflect positively and try to show a range of emotional tone as you speak – it’s not as difficult as it sounds, we promise, sound excited if you are, laugh when appropriate and remain polite and courteous at all times!
Obviously we wouldn’t condone this in any other situation but what a perfect opportunity to let your rebellious side shine through than during a telephone interview? No one can see the 3 page print out of their website in front of you and no one can judge you for preparing some answers for possible questions you are likely to be asked!
Remember the goal
Interviewers objectives aside, the aim of your game in this particular interview is to end the conversation with a new date in your diary – no, no, not that kind of date – you need a face to face interview! If you like the sound of the job and you’re genuinely interested in taking the next step then you’re goal is to make the interviewer feel like they need to meet you as soon as possible.
Many Agencies conduct mini, or even lengthy, telephone interviews to find out how they can assist you with your job search, use these opportunities to practice your communication skills and if you aren’t signed up to any Recruitment Agencies then badger your friends and family until they all relent to engaging in hours of practice sessions – everyone’s a winner!
Let us know if you have any tips or tricks or experiences to share!