Phone interview tips | Main Region
Phone interview tips
If you are looking for a new job, at some point during your job search you’ll be invited to attend a telephone interview. Phone interviews are an established instrument in the pre-selection process. With most job vacancies attracting a large number of candidate applications, an initial phone interview allows a recruiter or hiring manager to talk through your CV and determine if you have the skills and experience necessary to make the shortlist for a face-to-face or video interview. Given that your performance in a phone interview is crucial to your application progressing further through the recruitment process and the overall success of your job search, it’s important to prepare for all phone interviews.
However, many candidates overlook phone interviews as less important simply because they are not conducted face-to-face. Others don’t take the time during their job search to learn how to prepare for standard phone interview questions.
By preparing for your phone interview properly, you’ll be able to use this stage of the recruitment process to make a good first impression and build a rapport with the interviewer. This will help to set yourself apart from other candidates.
Following are our top interview tips for giving the perfect phone interview.
Before your phone interview
Prepare as you would for an in-person interview
Before your phone interview, make sure you put aside time to prepare, just as you would for a face-to-face interview. As part of your preparation, you should:
- Confirm with your recruiter how long the phone interview will take and clear your diary for at least an hour either side so that you aren’t rushed for time
- Have the hiring manager and recruiter’s name and number at hand
- Find out who will call who, and at what time
- Research the company, its business model, culture and products or services – talk to your recruiter for additional insights
- Read the job description thoroughly and identify what you can bring to the role in terms of skills and experience
- Review your CV and career highlights relevant to this job
- Practice your answers to common interview questions
- Prepare questions to ask the interviewer at the end of your phone interview.
Some candidates treat a telephone interview more like an informal chat than a professional conversation and therefore undertake no preparation at all. These candidates usually do not perform well during the call, provide answers that fail to impress and rarely make it to the next round of the hiring process.
Prepare answers to common phone interview questions
While you can expect to be asked a range of interview questions, there are also some common phone interview questions that you should prepare to answer during the call. These include:
- Tell me about yourself
- Walk me through your current job and responsibilities
- What attracted you to this job?
- What do you know about our organisation?
- Why do you want to work here?
- What makes you a suitable candidate for this job?
- What is your availability for an in-person interview?
Remember, the aim of your phone interview is to make it past this initial screen to an in-person interview, so focus your answers on why you’re suitable for this particular job at this particular organisation. Make each answer as relevant as possible.
Practice the STAR technique
STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. It forces you to stick to a framework while providing all of the most relevant information – which is crucial to be seen as possessing the required skills and experience to get through this initial telephone screen. You can find more on how to answer interview questions using the STAR technique in our job interview tips.
Perfect your verbal communication skills
To identify any issues, carry out a practice interview with a friend. Record yourself and try to objectively review your performance. For instance, pay close attention to your pace to ensure you don’t speak too quickly. Talk clearly and precisely and avoid mumbling. Don’t interrupt and avoid filler words such as “um” and “like”.
On the day of your phone interview
Adopt a positive mindset
During your phone interview
Answer the phone in a professional manner
Have relevant information to hand
Adjust your body language
Speak at an even pace
Remember your manners
Interrupting people too much is also considered bad manners, and unfortunately it is more likely to occur during telephone job interviews since you are unable to read visual cues and so judge whether your interviewer has finished talking. Avoid interrupting by pausing for a second once you think your interviewer has finished speaking, before you start responding.
Conclude as you would a face-to-face interview
After your phone interview
With these interview tips, you can approach a phone interview with confidence. Just remember, the key is to perfect your telephone manner, specifically your verbal communication skills, and put as much effort into preparing as you would a face-to-face interview. After all, this is a crucial step in a successful job search, so it’s a good idea to put your best foot forward.
For more job interview advice, download our complete Hays Job Interview Guide below.