A phone call is usually the first port of call when companies and recruiters are vetting new applicants. But if you are new to job hunting telephone interviews or impromptu phone calls can be just as daunting as face-to-face interviews. They can be awkward, with broken lines, background noise and reverb, and it can be a lot harder to impress the interviewer when you are not in the room with them. But how can you keep your cool during a call? By working with the consultants over at EduStaff, the specialist school recruitment agency, I have found some great tips to ensure you make a good first impression.
Most employers will schedule in telephone interviews so you can prepare for them just as you could a normal interview. Do your research, think about the sort of things they might ask you and have your notes ready when the time comes – you can even have their website or the job advert up in front of you during the call. Find a quiet place for you to have your call and grab a glass of water as nerves can give you a dry mouth. If the call has video too then put on a smart shirt – you can probably get away with keeping on your pyjama bottoms though!
Most interviews will end with the interviewer asking if you have any questions. Try to think of something to ask, something that isn’t about the salary. Showing that you are thinking about the job by asking an intelligent question will help you stand out. At the same time don’t try to 20 question the interviewer, think of one or two questions that can lead to a more casual conversation about the role.
Think Before You Answer
An obvious one you may think, but all too often nervous jobseekers will start talking before properly considering their response. I once asked a candidate about what their typical day involves, after a lot of umming and ahing they said “oh I don’t know; every day is so different”. An answer like this will make an interviewer think tells me they may disorganised with no clear structure to their day. However, if they had thought for a second first I am sure they could have explained their daily routine without any trouble.
Nerves can take many forms and it is common for people to get over excited and talk too quickly or loudly during a phone interview. It is important to show enthusiasm, but remember to take a deep breath and act professional, most jobs involve lots of talking on the phone so showing you have a good telephone manner is very important.
Keep it Short
While you should never rush a phone interview, dragging one out for too long and waffling will not do you any favours. You don’t want to sound like that friend of your mum’s who insisted on wittering on and on every time she called the house and you answered. Keep it brief, don’t speak over them and when the conversation reaches a natural end don’t try and spin it on for longer.