How to nail your next phone interview

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Phone interviews are the first step to capturing your dream job. Large companies in particular, like to utilise the phone interview prior to the one on one interview in an effort to screen the shortlisted candidates.

This is the easy part though right?…Not really.

You would be surprised with how many great candidates ruin their chances of advancing to the interview stage because of their lack of knowledge of how to handle a phone interview.

There are a few things you need to remember when scheduling a phone interview. If you can take this information on board you will increase your phone interview success rate tenfold.

Be prepared for the phone call

It should not need to be said, however I feel it is necessary due to the incredible amount of people that are unprepared when the phone interview begins. Be prepared! When you schedule a phone interview you must know that the company will give you a call so you must ensure that you portray that to the recruiter.

The first questions far too many people ask is “What job is this?” or “Ah, can you tell about the position? I forgot which one this is”. This is a back breaker, the only reason you would ask this question is if you don’t really want the job and are therefore happy not to be considered for the position.
When you ask this question you immediately place yourself on the back foot and more often than not, you will not recover. A better response to the initial hello is “great Jenny, I’ve been looking forward to your call.”

Once you have moved past the first hurdle you need to demonstrate your enthusiasm and knowledge of both the company and role you have applied for. Spend some time researching the company, not just what is on their home page. Consider the direction of the business, what services they offer and most importantly their company culture. The more research you do, the better prepared you are and the smoother the interview will go.

Don’t forget to eliminate distractions prior to accepting the call. Try to find a private you room to ensure you are completely ready to go.

Develop your online presence

Prior to speaking with you over the phone, companies will take the time to find you over LinkedIn and other social networks. You need to be aware that this is a common practice for recruiters, therefore you must take the time to update and review the information on your profiles.
You may not believe it, but some recruiters take LinkedIn more seriously than a resume.

Understand how to answer common interview questions

Often, the first question you will be asked is “Can you tell me a bit about yourself?” This is a relatively standard question, but it sets the tone for the rest of the interview.

When answering questions such as this, you need to remain clear and concise. Try to avoid rambling at all costs. The purpose of this question is not to understand your life story, they want to know how this person’s skills relate to my business.

Answering the question in this way shows preparedness and demonstrates to the recruiter that you will go to the extra effort to complete a project successfully. When answering a question of this kind try and aim for a 30 – 45 sec response, giving you enough time to say what you need to without rambling.

Follow up

After you have completed the interview (successfully), ask for the recruiter’s email address if you don’t already have it.

Send them a thank you email 24 to 48 hours after, detailing your appreciation for the opportunity and quickly summarising what you spoke about during the phone interview.

Utilising these techniques will help to improve your results when interviewing over the phone, hopefully leading to more job offers and better opportunities.