Employers are increasingly using telephone interviews as a means of screening applicants in order to shortlist for interview.  There are many reasons for this trend, but the primary motivation appears to be that telephone interviews can be undertaken quickly to clarify the suitability of a candidate – this is particularly important in a candidate short market place like IT.

The nature of such telephone interviews can take many forms; from a standard HR profile of your career to date;  to a technical focused interview; or, in the case of more senior executive level role, a full blown in depth discussion on a sector relevant topic.

Preparation

  • Clarify what form the telephone interview will take – HR or Technical interview
  • Ensure you arrange a time and place where you are free to talk without distraction, preferably in quiet and comfortable surroundings
  • Have all essential information at your fingertips – pen and paper to take notes, the job advert/job specification, your CV ,a list of your accomplishments , research on the company, questions to ask etc                                      

Techniques

 When we communicate with others, somewhere in the region of 90% of what is communicated derives from our body language. Without the benefit of body language, telephone interviews can potentially be very difficult.  Some tips for success are:

  • Smile .  A smile will definitely come through in your voice; it will lift the tone and leave a positive impression on your interviewer. Relax, speak confidently, clearly and purposefully.      
  • Do not speak in a monotone. Vary tone, pitch, and the speed at which you speak (and remember to keep smiling !).  It is important to pause at natural breaks in the conversation, and before you begin answering a question; this will prevent either you or the interviewer interrupting one another. However, ensure that the pause is not too long, as silences are more noticeable on the telephone. If you need time to think, say so, or repeat the question.  By doing this, you show you have been listening and will provide you the time to prepare your response.
  • Stand when you talk, as your voice will sound stronger and more confident; and you can then convey your enthusiasm to best effect.
  • Match your voice to the interviewer’s voice as much as possible

Things you shouldn’t do:          

  • Smoke, eat, or drink whilst on the phone as this will be conveyed to the interviewer
  • Answer questions with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. This is an opportunity for you to really sell yourself – so elaborate!
  • Avoid saying ‘ah’,’ er’, ‘hum’ etc. This habit is especially noticeable on the telephone. This takes practice. So practice.