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Telephone Interview Techniques

Telephone interviews are still very much a part of the recruitment process. Recruiters conduct interviews over the phone as part of the early selection process to screen potential candidates and decide who is suitable for follow up face to face interviews and ultimately a full interview with the client. However, talking on the phone and meeting face to face are very different propositions, so here are our simple techniques to ensure a successful phone interview.

The Set Up

We’ve all had the nightmare scenario – important phone call, you’re on the mobile and the signal drops off. That’s why we recommend you use a landline wherever possible, and if you must use your mobile make sure it’s fully charged and has good reception.

Interviews are stressful so try and create a relaxed environment. Set yourself up in a quiet room where you won’t be disturbed. If you don’t have a room to yourself, sitting in your car can be a good alternative.

Make sure you have all the information you need – have a copy of your CV to hand, and if you’ve been sent the job description or information about the company print that out too. Having a pen and paper can also be useful for jotting down notes.

The Interview

Remember basic interview etiquette and general good manners; namely, no interrupting, no chewing gum or eating while you’re talking. (However, you might want to have a glass of water to hand for those Sahara-mouth moments!) Now is not the time to get nonchalant just because you can’t be seen – if anything it should make you more aware of how you’re coming across.

Your voice is the only thing the interviewer can use to form an impression, so beware of sounding monotone and unenthusiastic. Some people find that standing up and walking around makes them sound more animated. One of our candidates is an advocate of sitting in front of the mirror while on a phone call to allow him to keep an eye on his body language. Worth a try! A simpler tip is to smile as you talk – you’ll feel like an idiot but it will make a difference.

Know your subject. If you know who you are interviewing for make sure you have an excellent understanding of the role and particularly the company you are to be put forward to. A lack of knowledge on the organisation or your supposed area of expertise is a very quick way to end an interview!

The Next Step

The ideal result of a telephone interview will (obviously) be an invitation for a face-to-face interview.

A good follow up is to ping across a quick email to the recruiter to check if they need any more information, thank them and let them know your availability for meeting in person.