Help-I Have A Telephone Interview!

How to survive the telephone interview.

In times gone by, it was predominantly bigger companies who used telephone interviews as the first port of call in the recruitment process but nowadays, many companies within the SME sector use them as a way of quickly ascertaining if an employee sounds like a good fit for their company, team and, ultimately role they are looking to fill.

In fact, according to the IRS Employment Review, 40% of companies like to use telephone interviews as part of the recruitment process. The tendency is also towards using varying styles with a combination of competency, behavioural and situational interview questions rather than more traditional types.

Although the original intention of telephone interviews was as a method of time saving, ironically most telephone interviews last close to an hour, though statistically, 40 minutes is the average length of a telephone interview.

As a candidate, there are many benefits; you can dress as casually as you like, you don’t have an expensive or complicated journey to negotiate and you can refer to notes and even have their company website up in front of you but you do miss out on using your body language and appearance as influencers.  At PurplePower, we have a handful of regular clients of differing sizes and sector types who like to start the process by telephone interview.

How is a telephone interview different?

Apart from the obvious reasons, telephone interviews tend to be much more focused on the role itself and the candidate’s skills and experience and there is less small talk, so it can be difficult to find common ground unlike a face to face interview.  This can make you as an interviewee more nervous but with the right preparation, (see our previous blog on interview preparation) you will be more confident.  Preparation is everything. Prepare as if you were going to meet the MD and knock his/her socks off!

Some handy hints?

·         Smile: it will make you sound more confident and friendly.

·         Walk as you talk: this doesn’t suit everyone but most salespeople like to walk the walk as they talk (the talk).  It helps your voice project and sound clearer.

·        Find a refuge: make sure you are in a quiet place where you can focus without distractions, pet’s, kids, TV and make sure you are not likely to be interrupted

·         Speak clearly: enunciate well and slow down, allowing a few seconds before answering to gather your thoughts and aviod the cardinal sin of speaking over the interviewer.

·         Preparation: prepare even more than you would for a face to face interview

·         Cheat Sheets: keep a copy of your CV close by, the job spec, a list of your personal achievements, ideally with the role in question in mind and a list of strengths and weaknesses as well as questions about the team/role/company.

·         Remember to listen carefully:keep your answers fairly brief and focused but do use real life examples, especially to competency based questions.

·         Say thanks: remember to thank the interviewer for their time, leave them in no doubt of your enthusiasm and if possible send them a quick email later that day thanking them for their time. (You can always copy the recruiter in if you have been recommended through an agency).

And while we are at it, thanks for reading our blog and good luck in your telephone interview.


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