Telephonic interview? How to Impress:
When an employer is planning to fill a key role in the business, it is always preferred to meet any potential candidates on at least one or two occasions. This helps because you can learn a lot about a person from their demeanour and body language.
In the busy modern environment where most of us have full diaries and demanding lives it is not always possible to get together at the same time and place. Therefore it becomes common to do interviews over the telephone – a situation which demands a completely different set of skills.
The telephone interview requires more focus and concentration, thus it can be even more mentally challenging than a face to face situation.
Plenty of preparation is the key to getting the most from a phone interview. The biggest advantage you have is the ability to have all your notes in front of you. Research the company every bit as thoroughly as you would for a face to face interview.
Sometimes you may need to tailor your answers slightly, depending on what stage of the recruitment process you’re at, as the person interviewing you could be at a different level within the organisation. If this call is in the very early stages of the process you may get someone from the HR department calling you, whereas if it happens later down the line, it will be a senior manager or even the CEO. It is important to ask in advance who will be calling – this also gives you the opportunity to research them. It is always useful to have some background information even if it is a simple case of looking at their LinkedIn profile.
It is good if you know roughly how long the call will be, this way you will know whether you need short brief answers, or more in-depth detail. Try to control the flow of the conversation. You want to ask questions of your own and don’t want the interviewer to overpower you. At the same time you don’t want to be overly dominating either – so always be aware of your tone of voice. Keep in mind the interviewer will not be able to read your body language, but they certainly will pick up on how you speak.
As well as your CV, have your covering letter, the job description and your research in front of you. Often in an interview situation, nerves can get the better of you and you might forget important information. It happens many times that candidates walk out of an interview kicking themselves for not mentioning a certain experience or skill. In a telephone interview, you can eliminate this regret. Have a structure in your mind for the discussion that is about to take place. Drawing up a note of the key points you want to make, as well as questions you need to ask.
In conclusion, always give yourself plenty of time and space – there is nothing more unprofessional than conducting a phone interview while you are in a noisy environment or in a hurry to be somewhere.
The important thing is not to let the conversation wander as that will be a waste of everyone’s time and effort. It is a good idea to break the ice with some very brief small talk – and this is where your background research on the interviewer could be useful – but stay totally focused on the main purpose for the interview.