First stage interviews are commonly held over the phone, giving recruiters and hiring managers a chance to narrow the talent pool before scheduling face to face candidate meetings. This window of opportunity is not to be squandered. Read our top 5 phone interview tips on creating a great first impression (without being able to rely on your winning smile).
As with any interview, preparation is your key to success. You can use social media and the LinkedIn profiles of both the company and your interviewer as a tool to generate meaningful and interesting conversations. Your eagerness to do this will also serve to demonstrate your interest in them as a prospective employer.
The lack of face to face contact also affords you the luxury of a little prompting! “Cheat sheets” which bullet point some useful nuggets of information can be used to arm yourself with facts and figures you may find helpful. Don’t rely too heavily on these, however. Falling into the trap of scripted monologue is easy.
Remember, this is a conversation!
2) Take it Seriously
Take this exchange as importantly as you would any other interview. It is much harder to make a great first impression without a physical meeting. If you need practice or feedback, employ the help of a trusted friend to listen to your dialogue or play the role of the interviewer in a mock situation. If you can bear it, record yourself. This way you will know how you present yourself and be able to adapt your technique.
3) Control your Environment
As much as you are able, control the space and limit distractions. Turn off your mobile phone and television. Segregate yourself from family, housemates and even pets. Let others know that you are expecting a call and ask them to give you some space.
Try to engineer the call so that it can occur while you are not at work! If this cannot be averted, book a meeting room away from communal space. This way you will avoid being overheard by your colleagues. Or even worse… your boss!
4) Use a landline
Wherever possible, avoid using mobile phones. Lost signal, external noise and muffled sound will irritate and frustrate your interviewer while interrupting the ease and flow of your conversation. Call waiting, or even the unexpected arrival of a text message may throw you off your game, and cause you to lose your train of thought. If you do not have the option of a landline, make sure you are somewhere quiet, with a strong signal and that you have a fully charged battery.
Be positive…before you take the call, smile and take a deep breath. You will communicate relaxed positivity and confidence to your interviewer via your tone and breathing pattern. A tense outlook will inhibit your ability to form intelligent and informed answers. For the conversation to be productive, both parties need to be at ease. Your friendly demeanour will also allow your interviewer to view your skills at social interaction and picture how you may slot into the current team.
Since you are not face-to-face with your interviewer, you will miss any non-verbal cues. Make sure you ask questions such as “do you want me to elaborate?” or “shall I go into more detail?”