Telephone Interview Tips
Faststream Recruitment is passionate about providing the best advice to our candidates. We have put together our top telephone interview tips that will help you present the best version of yourself.
This guide is split out into three sections:
Before the interview
Pre-interview preparation is just as crucial as the interview itself and there are several factors you need to take into consideration.
Before we start planning how you are going to ‘wow’ your interviewer, it is vital to discuss the time and date of your interview.
After discussing the logistics of your interview with your Faststream Recruitment Consultant and you have received your interview confirmation, it is really important to take note and diarise the exact time and date of the interview.
Do your homework on the company and the interviewer/s
Company websites are good for this but everyone else will be looking here too, so if you know someone who works there already, speak to them, research recent projects, news articles – go the extra mile.
Check out your interviewer/s profile on LinkedIn – this shows initiative and might give you some ‘in common’ information including people you both know. Remember to request to connect with them too, putting a face to the name will build familiarity before you've even met them. On the subject of LinkedIn, make sure your work experience and dates match up with those on your CV. Gaps or different dates and information could raise a concern with your client around honesty and attention to detail.
Questions, Questions, Questions
Pre-empt and prepare for questions or concerns the client might have about you. Where are my skills/knowledge gaps and how am I going to overcome these? How will I deal with my ‘reason for leaving’ my last job and why I left without another job to go to?
Prepare some questions for your interviewer/s. Doing your company research will help with this and remember to WRITE your questions down.
Even if the interviewer has managed to answer all of your questions during the interview, they will be impressed that you came prepared.
Finally, think about what other questions, that you didn’t have pre-prepared, you’d now like to ask. This shows you listen well and can think on your feet.
Preparing for the Interview
Now we have established the basics, you need to start preparing for the interview itself.
Whatever the location you are planning on taking the call from, it is imperative to check your mobile phone connection before you start the interview. It can be frustrating if a telephone line keeps cutting in and out when trying to conduct an interview.
Ensure you are set up in a quiet environment to avoid any distractions during the interview. Don’t forget to set your telephone to voicemail so incoming calls do not disturb you.
Turn off email and other phone notifications so you don’t get distracted.
The client will more than likely want to discuss your experience to date, so print a copy of your CV to have with you during the telephone interview - this will help you when you need to reference back to points and relevant dates made in your application. Not knowing the start and end dates of employment can come across as unprofessional and the interviewer may question whether the information is correct.
During the Interview
Don’t miss the telephone call
This is probably one of the most common and frustrating interview ‘no no’s’ as it’s so easy to get right. There are always going to be exceptional circumstances, but generally, make sure you are comfortable and ready at the specified time to take the telephone call. Ideally, be ready and waiting five minutes before. In these few minutes get yourself mentally prepared, check your notes and have a glass of water on standby.
Control your nerves
Great preparation beforehand goes a long way to feeling confident and in control and able to deal with the unexpected. Always have a glass of water on standby and will help you slow down your speech. Nerves can give you a dry mouth and an unwanted frog in your throat, so again – be prepared. Having a notepad and pen can also let you jot down any notes that you can refer to later, leaving you to concentrate on the questions being asked and refer back to any important notes later.
It might sound strange but this actually works. Although your interviewer can’t see you, always try and remain smiling throughout the conversation. It helps you sound positive and confident.
It’s an essential skill in every job and the interview is a great opportunity to show how good you are at it. Listen to understand, not to respond and try not to interrupt the person talking. Take a few important notes as you simply won’t remember everything discussed in the interview. Listening well will always generate some good questions for you to ask too.
Talk positively, in the future tense where possible and sell yourself
There are a few candidates that unfortunately get remembered for the wrong reason – they talked negatively about their previous jobs and employers and often blamed them for their lack of performance/success. They talked a lot about what they had done before, but not enough about how they could add value in the future with their next employer.
We have a saying in recruitment, ‘sell not tell’ and the interview is your chance to sell your skills, achievements, value-added, so be as positive and forward-thinking as you can.
Close the interview on a positive
Thank your interviewer for their time, ask for any initial feedback and if you really want the job, tell them that you would be very interested in an opportunity to join them.
Ask them what is the next step, will there be another interview, when will they be making a decision by, how many other people are they interviewing for this role and over what timeframe?
After the Interview
Call your Faststream Recruitment Consultant
As soon as your telephone interview has ended, call your Faststream Recruitment Consultant to debrief them on how you think the interview went.
After this discussion, your Faststream Recruitment Consultant will be able to start moving the process forward and discuss the next steps with the client.
Follow up with an email
Thank your interviewer for their time and follow up on any other information they have asked for (for example; references, examples of work, etc.). This is also a chance to volunteer any further important information you forgot to bring up in the interview.
Ask for interview feedback - the good and the bad
Whether successful or not, always ask your recruitment consultant for feedback. We will chase this for you, as it’s important you know how you can improve next time.
And finally, remember the old saying that ‘practice makes perfect’ so even if you are not offered the job, every interview is a good experience so take away what you can and improve your chances for next time.
Now you have all the tools to succeed in your next telephone interview, we wish you the very best of luck.
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