THOUGHT PIECE the carling team

20 Phone Job Interview Tips

phoneWith more and more job candidates chasing every job opportunity, employers are being forced to choose the most efficient way of sorting out the wheat from the chaff. Video and Skype interviews are being used more and more often, but many employers are also relying on a telephone interview filtering system to help them decide who they call for either face-to-face or Skype interviews. While it can be easy to think of a telephone interview as somewhat less important than a face-to-face or Skype interview, we’d recommend you take this view at your peril.

Here are our Top 20 Tips for Drinks Industry Telephone Interviews:

  1. Don’t underestimate the importance of a telephone interview. When you are invited to participate in a telephone interview, don’t be tempted to put that interview into a lower category of importance than a face-to-face or Skype interview. Remember that the whole objective of a telephone interview is to position yourself as a candidate who deserves a further interview and to do all you can during the call to secure that opportunity.
  2. Be ready. Being ready for any interview is an essential part of your success. Being prepared and knowing what you want to say and what you’re likely to be asked is no less important on the ‘phone than it is in a full day assessment centre environment. Preparation, preparation and more preparation will help you perform at your best.
  3. Know why you’re the best person for the job. Studying the job description and knowing why you are the best person for the job is a great place to start. Try to give either financial or experiential evidence for any claims that you make.
  4. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is an important part of your job search process and investing the time necessary to get these points spot-on will pay huge dividends. If your telephone interview is your first interview in a while, don’t skimp on the time it takes to really know yourself, describe yourself clearly and in benefit terms that apply to the job you’re hoping to secure.
  5. Landline or mobile? Depending on the time you’ve been allocated for your phone interview, you mightn’t have a choice, but if you do have a choice between landline and mobile; choose carefully. It’s not normally a good idea to carry out a telephone interview on your current employer’s telephone, on their premises, so if you’re ‘going mobile’ making sure you have a good signal and peace and quiet around you is the absolute minimum.
  6. Don’t skimp on how you look and feel. Just because your potential employer can’t see you as they could in a video or face-to-face interview doesn’t mean that you should leave how you look and feel to chance. Taking the time to choose your outfit carefully and going the extra mile on your appearance will impact on how confident you feel and sound.
  7. Check your environment. You should to make sure your environment is tidy and quiet for any sort of call.
  8. Have water to hand. Having a bottle of water to hand is a good idea, just incase you need it.
  9. Have a notebook and pen handy. If your interviewer asks you to note something down or you want to note something down, the interview isn’t the time to go searching around for a pen and paper. Make sure you have them to hand. Once the interview is over, you should also take the opportunity to note down points to help you next time around.
  10. Listen. In the same way that you wouldn’t dream of interrupting in a face-to-face setting, you should spend lots of time listening during a telephone interview.
  11. Take your time. Taking time to prepare your response is as important on the telephone as it is face-to-face. While you should ideally avoid silences that make your interviewer think you might have hung up, taking a few seconds to collect your thoughts isn’t only a good idea, it normally gives a good impression too.
  12. Speak clearly. It goes without saying, but speaking clearly during a telephone interview is almost more important than during a face-to-face interview. Without any help of body language to back what you’re saying, you need to use tone of voice and volume for emphasis.
  13. Smile. You can hear a smile; so don’t forget to use this powerful tool when appropriate.
  14. Have access to the job description. The fact that your interviewer can’t see you is a great reason to take advantage of being able to have all the information you need to succeed to hand. Make sure you have the job description by your side and that you have highlighted the most important points for your discussion.
  15. Keep your CV to hand. Again, the ability to have your CV alongside you during the interview means that you can refer to it easily to tailor your answers.
  16. Use prompts. It’s a good idea prior to a telephone interview to make a list of points that you are keen to make and have them by your side. Doing this means that you can have a quick check of your list before the call finishes.
  17. Keep it short. Telephone interviews are intended to create efficiencies, so bear this in mind when you’re responding to questions. Keep your answers, short and to the point.
  18. Concentrate. Staying engaged and concentrating during your call may take effort but will pay dividends. Try to avoid having any sort of distraction around you and stay focused.
  19. Be respectful. It goes without saying, but respect is as important in a telephone interview as it is face-to-face. In particular take note of cues that will help you ascertain whether you should address your interviewer by his or her first name or whether you should address them as Mr or Mrs.
  20. Say “Thank You”. Don’t forget at the end of the interview to thank your interviewer for inviting you to interview and for the time they have spent with you.