Telephone interviews are becoming an increasingly popular way to identify candidates for interview and screen applicants to progress to the next stage of the application process. Here at CareerWise, we are committed to supporting our clients throughout the application process and helping you to prepare for the changes that have become normal since the Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to re-think the way the world of work is organised.
Working with a recruitment agency like us can put you ahead of the competition, and we will work with you to polish your interview skills so that you can excel at telephone and in-person interviews, too. We’ve put together this simple guide to telephone interviews to help you to feel confident in this situation and give you the best chance of making a great impression.
Why are Phone Interviews important?
2020 has been an unusual year, for sure. In the Spring, as many businesses worldwide began to explore how to manage working from home on a large scale, video conferences and telephone meetings took centre stage. With in-person interviews still problematic, these technologies have been normalised and phone interviews are proving more popular – particularly as part of the screening process in the early stages of recruitment, before progressing to video interview.
A telephone interview might sound more stressful than an in-person interview, or even a video interview, as you won’t be able to rely on body language and smiles to gauge the mood of the room, but following a few simple steps will help you to excel here and make the most of the situation.
How to ace a Telephone Interview
Anything unexpected can feel stressful, so it’s a good idea to learn as much as possible about the telephone interview process to avoid being taken by surprise. The following can be very helpful:
Be prepared. A phone interview may be organised in advance, or may be a spontaneous approach as part of the screening process. You should ensure that you have provided the best contact numbers in your application and that you always answer the phone professionally in case it is a recruiter or prospective employer calling to ask if you have time to talk. If your phone interview has been scheduled, you can prepare yourself for success by ensuring you are in a quiet, private location with your CV and the company information to hand.
Be professional. It’s vital to give a good impression in a phone interview, just as you would in a face to face meeting. You can prepare for this in advance by recording a professional sounding voicemail message in case you receive a call when you are unable to answer the phone. Whether you are on a video call or a voice call, your should dress professionally so that you feel competent and successful, and even if you can’t be seen, it’s very important to keep smiling as the tone of your voice will be more relaxed and confident.
Practise first. It is easier to come across in a positive manner if you have practiced beforehand, so it’s a good idea to ask a friend or family member to help you with the process. Try making a few practice interview calls, in which you are asked standard interview questions, giving you the chance to see how your answers sound and to get used to the telephone interview format. You should also ensure that you have researched the company you are interviewing for and have a few questions prepared for them if you are given the chance to ask. It can be helpful to record your practice interview attempts so that you can hear any vocal tics or repetitive words or phrases and work on reducing these.
Listen carefully. Unlike an in-person interview, you may find that a telephone interview involves delays and disruptions. It’s essential to listen very carefully when your interviewer speaks, and to take a couple of seconds to process the question you hear. This will give you the chance to breathe and formulate your answer, and will also reassure the interviewer that you are a considerate person who takes the time to listen effectively. Don’t start to speak while the interviewer is still asking the question, and if something occurs to you while the interviewer is speaking, simply note it down and refer back to it when it is your turn to speak. If the line is bad or you do not hear a question, just ask the interviewer to please repeat the question.
Follow up. At the end of your telephone interview, you should thank the interviewer for their time and ask for a contact email address if you do not already have one. It is good practice to send an email immediately or soon after the interview, thanking the interviewer again and referring to any relevant points that you did not mention during the phone interview, or passing on any information you referred to during the call. You should make notes during the phone interview and look back at these afterwards so that you can see what went well, what may need more work in the future and where you can improve if you are asked to progress to the next stage of the application process.
Are you looking for an exciting new job in Ireland?
CareerWise is Ireland’s leading specialist recruitment firm, based in Cork, Shannon, Mato, Dublin and Galway, and we can help you to find your ideal new job in Ireland. We specialise in the Engineering, Supply Chain, Science/Pharma, IT and Accounting industries in Ireland, and we look forward to working with you. Contact us online now or call us on +353 (0) 21 206 1900 to arrange a consultation.
Joe Robbins is co-founder of CareerWise Recruitment. A graduate of the University of Limerick (Degree in Business Studies, 1985), Joe worked in the UK for five years where he specialised in materials management, production management and plant management for a number of companies.
He returned to Ireland in 1992 to become Operations Manager for a Cork-based start-up, FMC Automotive Division which was subsequently taken over by Snap-on Equipment. Joe managed the business re-location of this company to Shannon in 1997 before setting up CareerWise Recruitment in 1999.
He is a committee member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Mid-West region, and a former Director and Vice President of the Shannon Chamber of Commerce. Joe is former Chairperson of the Sixmilebridge Camogie Club and current Chairperson of the Clare County Camogie Board.
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