Prepping for your upcoming phone interview and not sure what to expect? Fear not, we are here to give you the low-down.
Phone interviews are typically the first stage of the interview process that you will go through when applying for a new job. Not only is it where you want to make a good first impression, it also solely relies on your verbal communication skills. Without face-to-face contact, body language and visual cues, a phone interview is vastly different and requires different prep.
The main purpose of a phone interview is to discover which job candidates are suitable to take to the next round of interviews. They are used to narrow down job candidates before more time and resources are invested by both parties. Employers don’t want to waste your time as much as they don’t want to waste theirs. So, if you find yourself approaching a phone interview, keep in mind that it could either get you to the next round or it may end your chances. For most of us this can be pretty daunting, but as long as you are prepared, you will be on your way to having a successful phone interview.
Here are our tips to help you succeed in a phone interview:
Tip 1) Be prepared to pick up the phone without any notice.
A lot of the time phone interviews are scheduled and organised through email. However, it is very common for phone interviews to be random without any notice. You never know when an employer might call and ask if you have a few minutes to talk. If the phone number is unfamiliar, it’s a good chance it is an employer, so make sure you answer professionally. To avoid feeling caught off guard, a great tip is to start researching about the role as soon as possible after applying, just in case you get a call.
Tip 2) It’s all in your voice.
With the lack of visual communication and physical presence, your voice is the only form of communication provided during a phone interview. Therefore, it is super important to focus not only on what you are saying, but more crucially how you are saying it. Try not to freak out or fluster over getting all of your points across. If you are nervous or stressed, the person on the other end will be able to feel it too. Ideally you should aim to talk confidently in a calm, warm and conversational tone. You should aim to have a friendly chat while also speaking competently about the role. Similar to giving a speech, it is great to take your time and find value in pausing. You will be able to get your point across more fluidly. With this being said, try to avoid long ums and ahs.
If you are feeling stressed, our tip is to conduct a practice phone interview with someone beforehand. It could be a friend or a family member, just to get you comfortably talking.
Tip 3) As in any interview, do your research.
Research is something you will need to do in any type of interview situation. You should research the company, job role and also possible interview questions. Our tip is to write a list of talking points to refer to when possible questions come up. The best part of this is that it can be right in front of you while you are taking the call. Unlike a face-to-face interview where you have to remain presentable (with eye contact) you can flick through all your research and your resume, or even Google something if you get stuck.
Tip 4) Find a quiet spot without distractions.
This may seem obvious, but for situations where you think you might get a surprise phone call, we recommend not taking the call if you are out and about in public with plenty of noisy distractions. Ideally, you want to have a phone interview in a quiet and familiar environment whether that be at home, in an office, a computer room or university space. You need to find a quiet spot where you can prepare your notes, and most importantly focus.
Tip 5) Keep the essentials around you.
As mentioned, during your phone interview you want to find somewhere with limited distractions. Just keep the essentials in front of you such as your research, your resume and other preparation like your key talking points and questions to ask. Some other helpful items include a pen and paper. This may be simple but it is definitely needed to jot down any important information or notes that you could forget after the phone call. Our tip is also to keep a glass of water nearby. Just like you see on talk shows, glasses of water are so helpful to get you through important chats. You may be surprised how dry your mouth can get just by talking. The last thing you want to be doing is worrying about a tickle in your throat or a dry mouth. Having a quick sip throughout the interview will be a life saver.
The best way to get through a phone interview is to feel prepared and confident. If you are feeling stressed, look to your friends or family for support and to give you a confidence boost. Remember that it isn’t the be all end all. If you don’t get to the next round, there is always another job out there for you!
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