Telephone interviews used to be pretty rare, but not anymore.
Companies like Debenhams, John Lewis, Scottish Power and Tesco all use telephone interviews. So do most of the big financial services companies.
Interviewing applicants face-to-face is expensive for employers. So, many large companies now prefer to arrange telephone interviews at an early stage in the recruitment process. This helps them to:
- screen out less suitable applicants
- organise face-to-face interviews only for the very best candidates
- assess your telephone and speaking skills.
It might seem a bit intimidating but it does have certain advantages.
- It saves you time and money – no travel expenses.
- You don’t have to buy a new interview outfit.
- You can have your CV, the job description and any questions you want to ask in front of you.
You might miss being able to see the interviewer’s facial expressions and body language; these can give you some idea of how well the interview is going. But, it can be a really positive experience, if you are well prepared.
Here are a few hints and tips that will help you make a good impression.
- Preparation is everything! Do your research just as you normally would.
- In most ways a telephone interview is just like a face-to-face interview. It's still a formal recruitment process and should be treated with the same respect!
- This also applies to how you are dressed – you will feel and therefore sound more professional if you dress in smart clothes. Don't phone up dressed in your pyjamas!
- Read your CV and covering letter again. Think about your skills and qualities.
- Find out what you can about the interview questions. Will they be based around the ‘competencies’ for the job?
- Some employers give examples of questions on their websites. And, past applicants sometimes spill the beans on blogs, like Glass Ceiling and The Student Room.
- You’ll need some quiet and some privacy – so turn the TV off and, if need be, bribe any younger siblings to make themselves scarce.
- Make sure you’re ready for the call. The interviewer normally gives you a set date and time for the call. If there’s an emergency and you can’t make it phone them well in advance to let them know.
- Smile! It really does make you sound more positive and friendly.
- Sound interested, but don’t gush.
- Speak clearly. Listen carefully, it’s a valuable skill.
- You’re bound to be nervous, but try not to talk over the interviewer.
- Keep a pen and paper handy – including any questions or answers you have prepared should your mind go blank!
- Make sure you have your CV handy so you can refer to it.
- Most telephone interviews last 20 to 30 minutes.
- You can also find a wealth of telephone interview tutorials on YouTube.
- They want the real you to shine through, so relax and be yourself.
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