A phone interview is often your first verbal interaction with your potential employer so it’s vital you make it count. After all, first impressions matter! The purpose of a phone interview is to further asses your suitability for the role. Essentially, the employer is trying to determine if it’s worth their while to invite you to complete the next step of the recruitment process.
Generally, the key things that are assessed during a phone interview are your:
- Communication skills
- Motivations for the position and industry
- What you know about the company and industry
- Questions regarding your resume (education, work history etc.)
The employer is also likely to ask questions regarding your salary expectations and notice period so be prepared to answer these. It’s also not uncommon for the employer to ask behavioural based questions during the phone interview.
Below are some hints and tips for a good phone interview.
Be in a quiet location where you can talk freely and openly
Don’t be afraid to ask the employer to hold for a few seconds whilst you find a suitable location or even ask to call back later if required. It’s important that you’re in a quiet location so you can put your best foot forward. It’d be super awkward to have a phone interview with your current boss within earshot!
Stand up during the phone interview – it helps project confidence in your voice
Standing up is a great way to feel and project confidence when talking on the phone. Whilst the employer can’t see you, they can tell by the tone of your voice if you’re slouched over your desk or lying in bed. So stand up and project confidence (it’s a trick a lot of recruitment consultants use).
Talk clearly and make sure you’re not talking too fast
During the phone interview be mindful of how clearly and fast you are talking. It’s often harder to understand people over the phone and you want to make sure you’re getting your message across. Remember, stay calm and make sure you breathe.
Listen intently to the employer – it will make sure you stay engaged in the conversation
Make sure there are no distractions around you (e.g. iPad computers etc.) to ensure you’re completely engaged in the conversation. It’s important you listen intently to the employer to ensure you fully understand what’s being said and asked. Definitely avoid the temptation to read prepared answers as the employer can always tell when you are.
Know your resume, know the company, and know your motivations (why did I apply in the first place?)
We can’t stress enough how important preparation and research are. You need to demonstrate your credibility over the phone by knowing about the role and company you’ve applied for. Expect to be asked “why do you want to work here?” and make sure you have a good answer. You don’t want to appear like you have just been spamming your resume out with no actual interest in the role or organisation.
Answer any behavioural based questions using the STAR technique
Whilst it’s not the norm there is the possibility that you may be asked behavioural based questions during the interview. If this is the case ensure you answer the question using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result).
Demonstrate you’re interested in the role/company/industry by asking questions when given the opportunity at the end
At the end of the phone interview you should be given the opportunity to ask questions. This is a great opportunity to:
- Clarify any further information you may need; and
- Further demonstrate your interest in the role, company and industry.
Ask at least one to two insightful questions regarding the role, company or industry as a great way to seem eager and passionate about the role.
For more great advice, be sure to check out our other blogs