Tips for Successful Telephone Interviews
Practice phone manners. Brush up on your phone manners. Answer by saying “Hello,” not “Yeah,” or by just barking your name into the receiver. Prepare beforehand for a quiet atmosphere with no background noise and distractions.
Speak clearly. Hone your speaking skills and be aware of your vocal patterns. Enunciate your words so you speak very clearly. Try not to use throw-away phrases like “frankly” …”to be honest”…”actually” … “needless to say”. Learn to speak as concisely and as clearly as possible. Not only will you be speaking more clearly and professionally but you will also find that your everyday speech will improve and be much more effective.
Smile & be confident over the phone. Believe it or not, smiling while you are talking will actually help you sound more “friendly” and open. During the telephone interview, you are judged by the same criteria used in an in-person interview, i.e. self-confidence. Self-confidence is judged differently by phone than in-person (where eye contact, for example, can be an excellent barometer). Instead, you’ll be judged by a much more subtle set of factors — the sound of your voice, your level of friendliness and enthusiasm, etc.
Don’t be negative. Don’t ever talk about issues related to potential compensation, company benefits, problems at your current employer etc. during an initial phone interview. This is solid advice for any first interview situation.
Be prepared: Telephone interviews can be requested on short notice so you might be taken by surprise and be expected to perform well. Keep a notebook with job related information in it near the telephone. This should include a current copy of your resume, a list of references, and information about the company you will interview with.
- Have your strengths written down. Write down your top five strengths. If the interviewer only asks for three, that’s okay — but you are prepared if they ask for
- Have your weakness written If asked, your weaknesses should be stated in a positive light such as, “I feel the areas that I would like to improve on are……”
- Brag points. These are past achievements which single you out, such as: employee of the month, a work project you completed, ideas that saved your past employer time and money, etc. Write them down!
- Ask questions about the company. After you have researched the company on-line, write down things that are important to you, i.e., the size of the company, growth potential, future opportunities, how long your potential boss has been with the company, where their next step is and why they like the company, etc. DO NOT DISCUSS
- Closing statement. This is very important. Have something written down so if the hiring authority says anything else in closing and catches you off guard you can answer with something similar to one of these suggestions:
- I am interested in this opportunity and I think I can be a great asset to your company/project. What is the next step in the interviewing process?
- I am very interested in pursuing this opportunity. What is the next step in the interviewing process?
- I feel like I am a good fit to your requirements and would very much like to be considered for the position. What do you think about my suitability?
Keep your answers to the point. Many technical professionals launch into long, drawn-out answers to telephone interview questions. Because they do not have the sense of sight working for them, they are quite unable to tell if the person on the other line has gone to sleep so be sure to be brief.
Take notes. As you talk with the employer, take notes, as it will help with both the current telephone call and future in-person interviews.
Fundamentals of a Successful Interview
To a large degree, the success of your interview will depend on your ability to discover needs and empathize with the interviewer. You can do this by asking questions that verify your understanding of what the interviewer has just told you, without editorializing, or expressing an opinion. By establishing empathy in this manner, you’ll be in a better position to freely exchange ideas, and demonstrate your suitability for the job.
In addition to establishing empathy, there are four intangible fundamentals to a successful interview. These intangibles will influence the way your personality is perceived, and will affect the degree of rapport, or personal chemistry you’ll share with the employer.
1. Enthusiasm – Leave no doubt as to your level of interest in the job. You may think it’s unnecessary to do this, but employers often choose the more enthusiastic candidate in the case of a two-way tie. Besides, it’s best to keep your options open — wouldn’t you rather be in a position to turn down an offer, than have a prospective job evaporate from your grasp by giving a lethargic interview?
2. Technical interest – Employers look for people who love what they do; people who get excited by the prospect of tearing into the nitty-gritty of the job
3. Confidence: No one likes a braggart, but the candidate who’s sure of his or her abilities will almost certainly be more favourably received.
4. Intensity: The last thing you want to do is come across as “flat” in your interview. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being a laid-back person; but sleepwalkers rarely get hired.
Both for your sake and the employer’s, try not to leave an interview without exchanging fundamental information. The more you know about each other, the more potential you’ll have for establishing rapport, and making an informed decision.
The Short and Long of It
There are two ways to answer interview questions: the short version and the long version. When a question is open-ended, I always suggest to candidates that they say, “Let me give you the short version. If we need to explore some aspect of my answer more fully, I’d be happy to go into greater depth, and give you the long version.”
The reason you should respond this way is because it’s often difficult to know what type of answer each question will need. A question like, “What was your most difficult assignment?” might take anywhere from thirty seconds to thirty minutes to answer, depending on the detail you choose to give.
After the call
Immediately after the call we recommend that you write down a full debrief of the conversation whilst it is fresh in your mind, highlighting what went well, what could have gone better,. This information will be valuable to you when prepare for the next interview (if there is more than one stage) especially if there is a few days between them.
Remember to write down your thoughts from the interview immediately afterwards. Write down everything that you can think of such as the questions you were asked, what the interviewer responded well to, anything that you think could be contentious, the things you like and dislike about the opportunity, the key requirements of the position as the interviewer described them and the key challenges faced in the role, by the team and by the company.
Often there can be a period of time between multiple interviews and reviewing your notes the evening before you speak with the employer again can help refresh your memory. Call your bluewave consultant to let them know your thoughts on the opportunity and how you would like to progress.