Mastering the Telephone Interview

Jun 22, 2017 | Blog, Interviews


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For some companies, a telephone interview is the first stage of the recruitment process. This type of interview tends to be one that you either love or hate. On the plus side, you don’t have to worry about finding the place, turning up late, over-dressing, under-dressing or making the right kind of eye contact. On the flip side, you can’t take cues from body language or facial expressions that tell you whether your responses are going down a treat or more like a lead balloon. Contract Accountants has some advice to help you make that telephonic interview a success.

Ensure there are no distractions

First things first, you need to make sure that when you take the call you will not be distracted in any way. This means more than turning the tv off. It means making sure you won’t be called on the landline, if at home (unplug it if need be) and that you won’t be interrupted by family members or your pet staffie looking to have his ball thrown for him. Your full attention needs to be on the interview so make sure you prepare for that.

Have all documents/paperwork ready

This is possibly the best part of a telephone interview. You can make full use of documents, cue cards, job descriptions, and so on, in order to help you answer questions and to make sure you don’t forget a thing. Just be careful not to rustle paper work or read off a page. Use your materials as prompts.

Don’t answer too quickly

Until you get familiar with the way your interviewers speak, don’t jump to respond too swiftly as you may risk talking over your them. It’s OK to have a second’s gap to make sure that they have finished their question before you start your answer. When you get more comfortable with their interviewing style, you can respond a little quicker.

Don’t ignore your body language

Sure, you can do a telephone interview lying in bed, or relaxing on the sofa, but we wouldn’t advise it. Yes, your interviewer(s) cannot see you, but your body language will reflect in your voice, so sit up straight in a dining room or office chair. Simulate an interview situation and you will come across sounding just as professional as you would in person.

Use a mirror and smile

It may feel a little odd but a tried and tested technique for successful telephone interviews is to place a mirror in front of you and make sure you smile. Smiling will add the vivacity and enthusiasm to your voice that you’re not able to convey physically. The mirror will allow you to simulate the way you would have sat, responded and engaged with your interviewers had you been in the same room as them.

Don’t let the interview end without asking about the next steps

Just the same as you would in a face to face interview, make sure you ask about what happens next.

Send a thank you note after the interview 

Again, just as you would normally, write personalised notes to your interviewers to thank them for their time.

Telephone interviews can be tricky to master. Preparation and practice is key to making sure yours is successful.


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