You should prepare for a telephone interview in the same way as you would prepare for a face to face interview. Just because you are on the phone and not in a strict interview situation, doesn’t mean that you should be too relaxed.
In fact, telephone interviews can be more intense than face to face interviews. This is because it is harder to gauge reaction over the phone. Interviewers may feel more comfortable with cutting you off when they have heard enough.
If you are unsure whether you have answered a question well enough, don’t be afraid to ask. You can ask if you have provided enough information or if they would like you to go into more detail.
Prepare questions to ask at the end of the interview, just like you would for a one on one. It might be worth having a list of telephone interview questions which are different than your one on one interview questions.
Asking questions shows initiative, and that you are interested in the position. I always feel that if an interviewee doesn’t have at least one question to ask, then they aren’t too fussed about the job. Referring to your notes in a phone interview can be easier than in a face to face interview, and you don’t need to worry about losing eye contact and feeling rude for looking at your paperwork.
You can also have any telephone interview research you have done beforehand in front of you, to keep you on track.
What is a telephone screening interview? A screening interview is more about confirming what you have put on your CV, and also gives the interviewer the chance to get a ‘feel’ for you as a candidate. They are a good way of ensuring no-one’s time is wasted with interviews, when the candidate isn’t right for the job.
Hints and tips:
Make sure you have planned the time around your telephone interview. Ensure you are at home and will be free of interruptions – you don’t want the kids running around screaming when you are answering an in-depth question.
Ensure you have a copy of your professional resume and cover letter at hand so that you can refer to it. It will be very obvious on the phone if you are searching for your resume while trying to answer a question. Silences will be even louder over the phone, so make sure you are fully engaged in the entire conversation.
Make sure you have paper and a pen to make notes. You don’t want to be frantically searching the house to find a pen that works mid-interview.
Stand up when you are speaking on the phone. Standing when you are talking makes you feel more authoritative and assertive. You also think more quickly and come up with better ideas when you are discussing something while standing up.
Dress smartly – now, you might think this is a slightly odd one. Surely one of the benefits of having an interview over the phone is that you don’t have to put on a suit? If you wear smart clothes, you feel smarter.
You will feel more professional, and as a result, answer questions and respond more professionally. Sometimes telephone interviews are via Skype, where a webcam will be used. Therefore, you need to look the part.