Long gone are the days when sending in your CV and cover letter was enough to land you an in-person interview. Nowadays, employers receive so many responses to job postings that they often screen applicants through phone interviews. They do this to see whether the candidate is a good fit for the role and the company, saving them both time and money. Only those who impress are invited to attend an interview in person.
So, your CV or LinkedIn profile has made a good impression and you’ve been contacted to participate in a phone interview with a recruiter or HR professional. Although you don’t have to don your best suit and you can take the call from the comfort of your own sofa while sat in your pyjamas, don’t be fooled into thinking phone interviews are a walk in the park. You should prepare for one just as much as you would for an in-person interview. How? Fear not, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top tips to help you sail through that all-important phone interview and get through to the next stage of the hiring process.
Do your research
As the saying goes, fail to prepare and prepare to fail. You don’t need to know everything about the company but showing the recruiter you’ve done your research will earn you definite brownie points. It’ll show you’re genuinely interested in the position you’ve applied for. Visit the company’s website and social media pages to get a picture of their brand, style and values so you can explain how you align with them. You can then make a list of notes or a ‘cheat sheet’ which you can keep in front of you during the interview.
Familiarise yourself with the job description
Read the job description carefully to see what skills and qualities the company is looking for in a potential employee. You can then prepare some reasons as to why you’re a strong candidate and how you can add value to their company. Make sure you know your CV inside out as the interviewer will almost certainly ask you about your education and previous work experience.
Prepare answers to common interview questions
As you would with a regular interview, prepare a list of answers to common interview questions, note down your strengths and weaknesses and prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer.
Find a comfortable space to talk
Make sure you find a quiet, comfortable place to take the call where you won’t be distracted or disturbed. The last thing you want is to make your first impression with blaring music or loud chatter in the background. It’s also a good idea to take a few moments before the call to collect your thoughts and calm your nerves. Make sure you have a pen and paper handy to take notes. You can use these notes to ask a few questions at the end of the call.
Listen carefully and speak clearly
It’s natural to get nervous during an interview, but when this happens we usually find it harder to concentrate and end up speaking faster. Try to focus on what the interviewer is saying, take your time to answer questions and be sure to speak clearly and enunciate. Keep a glass of water nearby so you can take a sip if you feel the nerves creeping in and your throat drying up.
Send a follow-up email
After the call, send the interviewer a thank you email to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position. You can also use this as an opportunity to provide any extra information you didn’t get a chance to mention during the call and ask them if there is anything else they’d like to know about you.