A telephone interview is not an easy business. There are protocols you need to follow and precautions you must take
At times employers organise phone interviews to short-list candidates, to minimise the cost of conducting interviews or to screen outstation candidates. The reasons could be various but the basic codes remain same. It is a job interview at the end of the day and the task is all the more difficult because you have to impress the interviewer with just your voice.
It may also seem like it is easy to give phone interview as one does not have to worry about clothes or mannerism. This is fact is not true. Phone interviews are tricky for exactly the same reasons. Since the interviewer cannot see you he/she will be monitoring your responses much more keenly.
The best solution is to be prepared for the interview. Usually one is informed of the time and day of call. In case you get the interview call when you are in a noisy place or in the bathroom, then please do ask them to call in a while if possible or try to arrange a different time when you will be better prepared. However, if you do have to give the interview instantly be mentally prepared for it.
Before the interview
Phone interviews can be an intimidating prospect for many. You don’t get to see the other person’s face and the interviewer judges you mostly on the tone of your voice. But there is a certain amount of preparedness that can make the process manageable.
1. Keep your resume in front of you.
2. Be ready with a pen and a paper to take down notes if needed.
3. Gather all information about the company. This research will increase your chances of leaving a favourable impression on the interviewer. This information should be easily accessible during the interview.
4. Make a list of your accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses with appropriate examples as a proof to your claims. This is a huge advantage of a phone interview. You can always be ready with real life examples which will help you sell yourself.
5. Be sure that there are no distractions around you. You should not be interrupted by kids, pets or friends. Turn off the television or radio. You will not be able to hear the interviewer properly or concentrate on your answers if there is noise in the room.
6. Switch off call waiting in your phone to avoid interruptions during the interview call.
7. Practice giving an interview on the phone and record your voice. Notice how confident you are sounding on the phone. Is it impressive or not? Accordingly work on your faults.
8. You might consider changing out of your night clothes before the interview. It will definitely induce a certain feeling of professionalism and seriousness in you.
9. Keep a glass of water in front of you.
During the interview
1. Do not eat or chew on anything. Avoid lighting a smoke as well.
2. Do not crawl in your bed while talking. It will make you sound lazy on the phone. Stand and talk if it helps you articulate better.
3. If you need some time to think over an answer then inform the interviewer to avoid awkward silence on the phone. It is alright to take a few moments to collect your thoughts. Do not feel hesitant to ask.
4. Sip water from time to time. It will calm you down.
5. Make sure you are not talking too fast. Enunciate your words clearly and be audible.
6. You cannot read your interviewer’s body language. Therefore, it becomes difficult to judge whether he/she is following you or not. It is good to ask them in the middle if they are able to understand your point or not.
7. Keep smiling as you talk even if the interviewer cannot see you. Smiling will cheer you up and it will be communicated across the telephone.
8. Ask the interviewer’s name in the beginning as you introduce yourself. Use it several times in your conversation.
9. Do not interrupt the interviewer. Wait for your turn to talk. Note down your thoughts on a paper to avoid forgetting it completely by the time it is your turn.
10. Thank your interviewer before keeping the phone and find out about the next stage in the selection process.
Remember, telephone interview is the same as an in-person interview. Treat it with the same seriousness and you will be fine.