Many multinational companies use telephone interviews as an initial screening tool when hiring candidates. From their point of view it’s a quick, cheap way of assessing candidate suitability and finding out if they’ll fit the company culture.
There are some crucial differences between telephone and face to face interviews and understanding these will help you get through to the next stage.
Power of Your Voice
In a telephone interview, your whole personality is translated through your voice.
What you say and how you say it take on equal importance. You need to speak slowly and clearly and at the same time inject your answer with passion and warmth. A good way of energising your voice is to stand up during the telephone call and even walk around the room.
The one big advantage of a telephone interview is that you can have your CV and all your notes in front of you. Have a summary of key points you’d like to get across in the conversation, in particular why you’re a good fit for the role and what you’re bringing to the table to the new employer.
Prepare for Standard Questions
Normally these interviews are conducted by Human Resource Professionals so are not hugely technical in nature. Often they’ll just want to verify the information you’ve provided on your CV and screen you out if you fall short.
Prepare for the usual top ten interview questions, know what competencies are being looked for and have strong examples to demonstrate your skills in these areas.
Importance of Silence
Don’t be afraid of silence. Be confident to stop when you feel you’ve given a good answer. Remember that the interviewer will probably be taking notes as you’re giving your answer so they may need a bit of time between questions. If in doubt, ask them if they’d like to you to expand furuther on your answer.
During the Interview
A few other things for you to consider. Try to take the call on a land line, the reception is always much better. Get rid of call waiting. Make sure there are no interruptions. Don’t smoke, chew gum, eat or drink. Never interrupt the interviewer and finally take your time – it’s perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to collect your thoughts.
About the Author
Laura McGrath is the owner of Interview Techniques, a leading provider of interview coaching services. She has spent the last 20 years in staffing and recruitment and is a regular contributor with Irish Jobs, Recruit Ireland and the Sunday Business Post.