Tips for preparing for a telephone interview

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Telephone interviews are now a standard part of the job interview process, as a quick and informal first-stage qualification interview. Whether you’re a natural telephone communicator, or the thought of picking up the phone to a potential employer fills you with dread… you must not overlook this crucial element of the interview process.

If you are worrisome about this stage, think of it as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. Showcase yourself to be a confident and prepared individual in every environment. Making a great first impression during the interview gives you the chance to build rapport with the hiring manager and therefore an upper hand in the hiring process.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for your next telephone interview…

Pick the right location

Some locations are just not suitable for a telephone interview. Doing the interview in your own home is fine – but make sure it is a calm and quiet environment to prevent any distractions. If anyone else is home at the time of your telephone interview, whether that be a partner or the dog(!), be sure to sit in a separate room.

Prepare questions in advance

When in any interview, you will be given the opportunity to ask the interviewer your own questions surrounding the role and business. As this is a telephone interview, if successful, you can expect a face-to-face interview to shortly be arranged. So, keep questions short and simple, and save the salary and benefits questions for later, as this may give the interviewer the wrong impression.

Ensuring you ask relevant questions increases your chances of being perceived as an interested individual…

Here are some questions we recommend trying out if you are struggling:

  • What does a typical day look like for someone in this position?
  • What opportunities will I have for training and development in this role?
  • How can I make an immediate impact within this role?
  • Where do you see the company in the next 5 years?
  • What are the next steps in the interview process?

Have everything you may need to hand…

  • A pen and paper (or calculator if applicable to the role)
  • A copy of your CV for when they ask questions or reference back to it.
  • A paper copy of your company research to ensure you remember everything correctly.
  • A list of questions you have prepared in advance.
  • A diary – in case a next appointment needs to be booked.
  • A glass of water – nerves can often lead to a dry mouth!

What to avoid!

  • Awkward silences! Prepare answers to standard job interview questions in advance.
  • NEVER criticise your previous employers. You will come across as the problem, not them.
  • At this (early) stage, avoid asking questions relating to benefits and salary due to the risk of you coming across as money motivated rather than career motivated.

Hopefully, with this advice, you’ll feel more confident with telephone interviews. Just remember, it’s a learning process that will help you improve in the future.