Preparation for your phone interview
Written by Cristine Thongkhamchanh
on 04 May 2016
Phone interviews are standard procedure for most roles, this is to filter through potential associates to determine whether they have the knowledge and experience for the role.
They can be intimidating but the reality is, the more you care about it, the less you need to worry. The best way to overcome your fear of the dreaded phone interview is to prepare as much as you would for any other interview. Know and understand the role and company and ask lots of questions to demonstrate how keen and interested you are.
Below are some useful tips on how you can do your best in your phone interview:
If you have an interview scheduled, make sure you don't miss it. Set alarms and stick it in your phone calendar. Calling up to rearrange an interview is not going to be well received but if you have a valid reason for not being able to take the call, make sure you let your point of contact know as soon as you can.
It is also important you are in a good environment where you are free from noise and distraction so you able to concentrate properly. Be sure your phone is charged and you have a good reception; if you know your home has terrible signal, request to be called on the landline. There is nothing worse than running around trying to get good reception and the result being you can’t hear the interviewer’s questions properly.
This could be your only shot at securing the role so treat this as you would a face-to-face interview and put in the preparation time. Some applicants fail to treat them as an essential part of the selection process. Devote as much time to prepping for a phone meeting as you would for an initial meeting in person:
- Make sure you research the company you will be potentially working for
- Ensure you understand the role you have applied for
- Rehearse your answers to the potential questions they may ask – practice makes perfect!
- Take advantage of the fact you are not sitting in front of the interviewer and create a prompt sheet of any key things to help you remind of anything you might forget
Phone interviews are usually shorter than face to face interviews so it is important you communicate information across efficiently and concisely in your responses:
- Listen and think before you speak. Allow the interviewer to take the lead of the call. Listen to the questions carefully; if you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
- Leave space to ensure that your interviewer can get a word in and ask the next question. This ensures you are covering everything the interviewer needs to know before you move to the next question/stage.
- Speak clearly, keep your answers concise and to the point, don’t waffle on about irrelevant information.
- Keep your printed copy of your CV close at hand as your interviewer will want to talk you about your recent and relevant experience. Make sure your CV is up to date and as always, don’t make up your responsibilities.
- Take your time - if you need a second to pause and think, then do! Interviewers will like the fact you think things through, there's no need to rush and blurt out the first thing you can think of.
This is time for you to shine! It’s important to sell yourself with confidence from the start to the end of the call but don’t overdo it!
- It may sound strange to mention body language as you’re on the phone and you can't be seen but the way you hold yourself is very important. Smile and think positive, you'll come across a lot more confident and assertive. Some people find it useful to dress nicely to put them in a professional state of mind.
- Don’t focus on the negative aspects when answering questions. Be enthusiastic and positive about your old job, even if you didn’t like working there. Always present yourself in the most positive and professional manner.
- When the interview ends, thank the interviewer for their time. You want to leave a lasting impression in their minds of your positive attitude and commitment to working for them.
Remember! If you don’t prepare, prepare to fail!