We recently worked with a client who wanted to hold preliminary phone interviews with prospective candidates prior to calling for face to face interviews. The following is the advice we gave to our candidates. This may be of value to you at some stage in your job search.
Prior to the phone interview :
Expect to be asked typical interview questions, so prepare in advance as you would for other interviews. Questions such as “tell me a little about yourself”, “what do you know about the company ?” “why does this position interest you?” or variations of same may be asked so prepare for them.
As with a regular interview, demonstrating competency may be required so have your STAR examples ready.
Have some questions ready to ask them in case there are no obvious, relevant questions to ask from the conversation you have had.
Find a suitable environment in which to take the call – no distractions or background noise if possible. If you are currently a stay at home Mum/Dad and no matter how good your child is when you are on the phone generally, don’t take a chance that this will happen during the phone interview. Ask a friend / neighbor to help you out on the day.
If you can, sit at a table/ desk in an upright position as you would in an interview. Have your CV, the job spec and any notes you have written on the table in front of you. Write down the names of the interviewers so that you don’t forget them and refer to them by name throughout the interview.
Practice the opening greeting you will use when you answer the call.
Practice the sign off you will use. For example : “I really enjoyed speaking with you today and would like to reiterate my interest in the role. I look forward to hearing from you soon. “
Give yourself 10 minutes to gather your thoughts before the expected interview time. If you generally get nervous before interviews, find a stress relieving technique which works for you and apply it in that time.
If using your mobile to take the call make sure it is charged !
If using a landline, switch off your mobile phone.
During the Interview
Have a glass of water handy
Listen to the question carefully before you answer. Take notes on what they say if of value to link their current situation to your past experience.
Remember, during the course of a face to face interview, non-verbal communication plays a very important role in communicating your message. You don’t have that available to you on the phone. You need to subtly, if possible, add more energy to your tone to sound confident and assertive (easier said than done I realise). Sitting with good posture (or standing) and speaking with a smile on your face really helps!
After the Phone Interview
Send an e-mail to your interviewers re-stating your interest in the position and your ability to do the job.
Then best of luck to you