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20 Tips for a Professional Telephone Interview

With the current impact of the Coronavirus, telephone interviewing has increased dramatically and so if you are job searching, it is important to be prepared to have to do a phone interview.

To help you prepare for phone interviews, here are some top tips:

  1. In advance of the phone interview, as for any other interview situation, research the job, industry and organisation. Make sure you have visited the company website and any competitor sites and have read relevant news articles.

  2. If you know who is doing your interview, find out more about them on a personal level by looking them up on LinkedIn.

  3. Ask a family member to ask you a few interview questions and maybe try recording yourself to listen back to get a feel for how you come across over the phone.

  4. Before the call, make sure that you have all the details confirmed, including the date, the time, and who it is you will be talking to.

  5. Prepare a list of examples of interview questions you feel you may be asked - frequently asked ones and your CV specific ones, and plan your responses in advance.

  6. Have the following things to hand, in front of you: a pen, paper, a copy of your CV to hand, the job specification and a glass of water.

  7. Make sure you are prepared for the phone call well in advance, you have had your breakfast and had a comfort break.

  8. Try and sit at a desk or a table, don't slouch on the sofa. Make sure that you are sitting in a quiet setting where the signal is good. Minimise background noise by closing windows and turning off televisions or radios.

  9. When the phone rings, remember that this is not an informal chat with a friend. Answer with 'Good morning/good afternoon, (your name) speaking.'

  10. Speak politely, professionally and confidently and avoid using slang or informal language. Remember to maintain this professional tone throughout the interview.

  11. When you are on the interview call, avoid surfing the web for information as it will distract you.

  12. Not being able to see the interviewer can present its own difficulties as you're unable to gauge their response to your answers. In a face-to-face interview you're able to take direction from the employer's body language and visual responses but of course this is not possible over the phone, so look for verbal clues.

  13. During the interview be careful not to interrupt them when they are talking and use interjections such as 'Yes', 'OK' , 'I see' and 'I understand' to let the interviewer know you're listening.

  14. While the interviewer cannot see you, still dress smartly as this helps to put you in a professional frame of mind and will boost your confidence.

  15. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification if you miss a particular question. Apologise and politely ask the interviewer to repeat it. Don't try to second guess what it might have been.

  16. Don’t waffle on – this can be easy to do when speaking on the phone so try and keep your responses concise.

  17. Take notes as they could be a valuable resource if you're invited for a second interview.

  18. Prepare questions to ask the interviewer at the end. Don't just end the interview with a polite 'thanks' and just hang up. As in face-to-face interviews, employers expect you to have a couple of questions of your own.

  19. If the interviewer hasn't mentioned it previously, enquire about the next stage of the process and when you should expect to hear from them.

  20. Phone your recruiter straight after the interview to give them your feedback.

Good Luck!

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