Phone interviews can be awkward. It’s nerve-racking, trying to impress a stranger on the other end of the phone without the benefit of body language. Every time the two of you speak over one another by accident you cringe a little more. But no matter how uncomfortable phone interviews are, they’re integral pieces of the hiring process for most organisations.
Here are some tips for the perfect telephone interview.
Before the Interview…
Record a professional-sounding voicemail message
When your CV is online, potential employers could call you at any time. It pays to ensure a professional response should an interviewer ring sooner than expected.
Print out a cheat sheet of facts about the company you are interviewing with
During a phone interview, the emphasis on your knowledge and engagement is even higher than if you were to meet in person. Make a note of key facts about the company and past work or projects that they have done.
Settle down and prepare yourself ten minutes before the appointment time
One thing you can control in a phone interview is your environment. When you are at ease and undisturbed, you will be free to be yourself. Give yourself enough time to settle down and get in the right headspace. Find a quiet room with a comfortable temperature and remember to have a glass of water handy.
Switch off push notifications on your phone
Switch off all unnecessary features from your phone, such as Wi-Fi, call-waiting and SMS sounds. Unwanted bleeps and interruptions during your interview can ruin your concentration and sound unprofessional to interviewers.
During the Interview…
Keep a list of the job requirements handy and try to mention each one during the conversation
The benefit of a phone interview is you can have notes around you as prompts. Make sure you read them before starting the call. Top tip: connect each job requirement with an achievement or challenge you have faced in a previous role.
Keep a pen and paper with you to make brief notes of what is discussed
It’s easy to lose focus when you don’t have a visual connection with the person who is interviewing you. Jot down the questions you’re asked to keep your answers relevant. Picking up on details will show that you are engaged with the process.
Research has shown that a smile can be ‘heard’ in your voice.
Be honest about any major distractions that crop up
An interviewer is only human and will understand if something unexpected happens. Don’t try to cover it up – the interviewer is likely to have realised something has happened anyway, and would rather you were honest.
End the interview by asking what the next steps are
Ask what kind of timeframe to expect. If you follow up for an answer too soon or too often you will look unprofessional.
After the Interview
Send a follow-up email
Thanking the interviewer for their time and interest is a great way to demonstrate you’re organised, productive and polite. There’s no travel time with a phone interview, so send a thank-you email within two hours.
Hold off on making social media connections
Adding a potential employer on LinkedIn can seem a little forward! Instead, include a link to your professional social media profiles in your email signature and they can click through from your follow-up note if they wish to connect.
Send a thank-you email if you find out you didn’t get the job
Industry professionals talk to one another. How you deal with rejection is an important part of developing your reputation. Ask for feedback on your application and let them know you would be interested in hearing about future opportunities.
And don’t forget to charge your phone!
Adapted from original article by Matthew Kosinski