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6 Steps to a Successful Phone Interview

On10/ 01 /18

Phone interviews often form part the hiring process. Busy managers will use them to screen candidates before committing to a face to face meeting.

It's therefore worth investing some time and attention to ensure you show yourself at your best.

Phone interviews can be even more intimidating than a face to face meeting. This is largely because we aren't able to read body language. However, with a little practice and a few pointers, we can all improve our telephone manner.

We offer some advice to tackle your phone interview in 6 easy steps.

1. Be Prepared

Hiring managers will often carry out phone interviews as the first stage of their screening process. Whilst these are usually pre-arranged, this isn't always the case. An interviewer might simply decide to call you when they receive your CV.

If you are prepared for this to happen, you're less likely to be caught off guard.

Also, try to ensure your voicemail is professional in case you miss a job-related call.

2. You know the drill

Preparing for a phone interview is much the same as for a face to face meeting. You should be ready to answer questions about your skills and experience, your strengths and weaknesses and your career goals.

As phone interviews are normally a preliminary screening method, the hiring manager is unlikely to go into quite the same depth as they would in a face-to face interview. However, practising a range of questions should give you the confidence to fly through the call.

3. Have a prompt list handy

One benefit of phone interviews over face to face meetings, is that you can use a prompt list and keep your CV close at hand.

Before the interview, go through the job brief and jot down how your skills and experience meet each hiring criteria along with a few key facts about the company.

Next, write some quick bullet list on your strengths, weaknesses, why you want the role etc. Lastly, include a list of few potential questions to ask the interviewer. These lists will act as a useful reminder during the call.

4. Record Yourself

Recording yourself is a great way to improve your telephone manner. Although, it can sound strange hearing yourself speak, it's the only way to spot the ums and ahs, the mumbling or talking to fast. You can read questions from a sheet or even better, get a friend or family member to ask you so you don't know what's coming next.

Once you know how you sound on the phone, practice reducing unnecessary filler words from your speech. You'll also quickly become aware of where you can improve the content and structure of your answers.

5. Respect phone etiquette

During the call, make sure you listen carefully to the interviewer and don't interrupt them mid flow. If you have an idea or something you want to mention later, jot it down and bring it up when it's your turn to talk.

Remember, you can't win people over with a smile and positive body language during a phone call, so you need to ensure you remain respectful and polite at all times.

6. Avoid Distractions

Make sure you are somewhere quiet where you won't be disturbed. It's also better to use a landline where possible to avoid your call being disrupted by poor signal.

And finally...try to relax and speak slowly. If you struggle with nerves, you can take a look at our recent blog on how to keep those interview nerves in check.

For more interview tips and advice, why not take a look at our CV and Interview section, or browse our series of interview posts on our blog.

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