Increasingly, your first contact with a prospective employer will be over the phone (some are even taking to video calls over skype or facetime). As candidates become more internationally mobile, prospective employers may well be in another country or continent, never mind another city – the ‘phone’ interview becomes the weapon of choice.
For instance, we’ve recently been working with a German based firm looking for english speaking employees to work in SE Asia. The chances of being able to meet for a first interview are very slim!
To succeed over the phone, you need to give it some thought and practice. You don’t have body language to help engage with your interviewer so what you say and how you say it is the only way you can make an impression. Here are a few specific tips to consider:
- Don’t speak too much. The temptation on the phone – even more than in a face-to-face interview – is to fill the silence. The danger is that you start rambling.
- Slow down. It’s more difficult to follow what someone’s saying when you can’t see them.
- Vary your tone. Or your answers could sound boring.
- Move around the room if that makes you feel comfortable. Often, people express themselves more freely when they aren’t stuck in a chair.
- Ask ahead of time how long the call will be. If the answer is ’15 minutes’ then you need to prepare very differently compared to a ’45 minute’ call (simple screening vs. in depth interview).
- Take notes in front of you to refer to. The person on the other end of the phone can’t see you reading!
- Think about the questions that you’re likely to be asked and prepare skelaton answers to each.
- Be personable, especially at the beginning. Remember that people often make decisions within the first few minutes (or even seconds) of ‘meeting’ someone. Try and find some common casual ground (recent holiday, sports results…).
- Always ask about the timeline for getting back to you.
Hope that’s helpful!
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