Telephone interviews are becoming more and more common amongst recruiters, but that’s only half the story when it comes to job hunting.
Even in these days of online applications, it’s still possible to make human contact in the initial stages of the job-hunting process. You might, for instance, ring for an informal discussion with the head of department or the current post holder. Beware of the word “informal”: it does not mean that you should be over casual in your approach or that the chat will be off the record in the strictest sense of the term.
Do some background research on the company and the job before reaching for the receiver lest you come across as ill informed. Given that first impressions count, it may be very hard to rectify this later.
So you’ve negotiated all the pitfalls above and a phone interview looms. There is a common sifting device amongst employers who are overwhelmed with good quality applicants and want to whittle these down to a manageable number. A phone discussion is a quick and cost effective way of sorting out the candidates. Typically lasting about 15 minutes, it’s a minimalist version of the traditional interview. Expect the same sort of questions that you’d have at any normal interview, mostly based on the job description and the reasons why it appeals to you.
Here are a few suggestions as to how you can avoid the most common hazards and give a good account of yourself.
- Be ready and waiting when the phone rings and introduce yourself with a good morning/afternoon and thank the interviewer before hanging up
- Stand up when taking the call.
- Time is limited, but slow down and resist the temptation to talk too quickly.
- Be succinct, it can easy to waffle when you can’t see someone in front of you.
- Don’t surround yourself with lots of notes and paper. Instead be armed with a series of bullet pointed note cards.
- Choose a quiet location where you are unlikely to be interrupted.
- Bizarre as it sounds, some candidates like to look smart even though they can’t be seen.
- On the same note, you may not be physically in front of someone but keep smiling!
Hopefully, all the above will ensure that you make the final cut and get a second interview, plus the job.
What if you fall at that last hurdle? Phoning for feedback is always worthwhile. Granted that sometimes recruiters won’t say anything beyond a few bland comments, but there are others who will provide pointers that can only enhance your next interview.