More and more companies are using phone interviews as an initial step in their recruitment process. It makes sense too; a phone call is quicker than a face to face and quickly establishes whether you’d be a right fit for a role. I spoke with Saleslogic recruiter Ben Gowing about phone interviews, and asked for his tips to make sure your phone interview turns into a face to face!
Things to remember when doing a phone interview
It is not the same as a face to face.
The obvious difference being that it’s on the phone! But more importantly, they serve slightly different purposes. A phone interview is a brief chat to help the recruitment consultant or interviewer get a general sense about you and your experience. Long-winded answers should be saved for a formal, face to face interview.
It’s just as important as a face to face.
Don’t assume it is anything less important. It is still an interview. It’s crucial to do well in a phone interview as it is a hurdle to jump in order to get to the face to face
Just like you would for a face to face interview, make sure you’re prepared for the phone interview and done your research. Research the company, and if you can, the person you’ll be speaking with. Make sure you know your CV and the job description so you can easily show how you match up to what they’re looking for.
Getting ready for the call
- Make sure you’ve confirmed who is calling whom.
- Find yourself a quiet and comfortable place where you can focus on the call.
- Make sure you are ready and seated before the agreed time of the call.
- Have a copy of your resume in front of you and that you have noted or know your key numbers (deal sizes, targets etc.)
- Have any questions you’d like to ask noted down so you don’t forget.
- Have a pen and paper handy to make any notes.
- Make sure there are no issues with mobile service before you take the call, or if possible, use a landline.
- If you are using a mobile phone, make sure it’s sufficiently charged!
- Consider using headphones so you can be hands free so you can focus on talking not holding the phone.
During the call
- Smile. It might seem odd, seeing as they can’t actually see if you, but you can hear a smile in the tone of someone’s voice. Plus it helps you to feel more relaxed and confident.
- Listen and react – don’t interrupt. This can be tricky as you don’t have the same cues as if they were in front of you. But listen carefully and take your time when answering
- Don’t give a monologue. Remember, this is an initial, getting to know the basics chats. Keep your answers clear and concise; leave the long detailed answers to the face to face.
- Do speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
- Always have questions for the end of the call, “No that’s everything, thanks” is not a good answer.
- Don’t ask about salary or package or bonuses- it’s not the time. This is a question you can ask your recruitment consultant prior or post call.
- Do remember your goal is to set up a face-to-face interview. At the end of your call, make sure you ask what the next steps are.
Bonus things to remember:
Answer the phone yourself, and say your name. ‘Hello, Emily speaking’ – This lets the interview know straight away they’ve reached the right person, and can jump straight in.
Just because they can’t see you, doesn’t mean you should behave any differently to if they could. Don’t start doing other things at the same time, you will easily sound distracted. And, and I only mention this from experience- don’t use the bathroom halfway through the call! They can’t see you, but they can hear you- and no recruiter or interviewer wants to hear the loo flush during your conversation.
Don't worry if you need a few seconds to think of a response. Without physical cues, it can be hard sometimes to know if they want you to expand on your answer, or even if they’ve finished speaking.
While it may seem like just a quick phone call, a phone interview is just as important as a face to face interview, and often you can’t get one without the other. Give it the effort it deserves and make sure you remember Ben’s tips to make sure you wow them on the call and get the invite for a formal interview!
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