5 Tips to Help You Sail Through Phone Interviews

In my previous article I questioned why more recruiters don’t conduct face-to-face interviews and it was met with quite a mixed response. Many supported the benefits of meeting candidates face-to-face, some questioned whether it was logistically feasible for all recruiters to do so and others favoured the phone interview, arguing that this could provide sufficient information on which to judge a candidate.

While I still champion the face-to-face interview and the additional insights that it provides, I always conduct phone interviews first, as a means of screening candidates. This is a great chance for me to find out more about their past and current experience, as well as what they want out of their next role.

I conduct numerous phone interviews every week and have come up with 5 key tips that candidates should bear in mind when faced with the recruiter’s call:

1. Be prepared

I ring candidates without giving notice and mainly question them on their CV. There isn’t therefore, much preparation that a candidate would need to do prior to an interview with me. However, if a recruiter does ring you out of the blue and you feel unprepared don’t be afraid to say that it’s a bad time and suggest a better time that they can contact you. This is an especially good idea if you’ve been applying for numerous roles and aren’t sure which the interview is for.

If an initial phone chat has been pre-arranged then it’s worth spending some time researching the role. The benefit of a phone interview is that you can have all your notes in front of you, but do ensure that they are easy to read and organised to save you rustling and saying “erm” a lot whilst you try to find the right page.

2. Pick your environment

A noisy background is distracting for both you and the interviewer. Ensure that you’re in a quiet and isolated location where you won’t be interrupted. If possible, it’s best to use a landline, as mobile is less reliable. If you do use a mobile, try to ensure that you are in a location with good reception.

3. Know who you’re speaking to

If you do know your interviewer’s name, then look them up either on the company website or LinkedIn. You’ll find it much easier to talk to someone if you know what they look like.

4. Dress to impress

You may think it’s a bit stupid to put on your full interview suit just to sit at home and speak to someone on the phone. But if you look professional, then you will feel professional and are more likely to give the right impression to your interviewer.

5. Keep your answers concise

Phone interviews are generally shorter than face-to-face interviews. Long-winded answers therefore are best avoided, as without the face-to-face interaction you could lose your interviewer’s attention. Your answers should be informative, clear and concise.

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