Originally posted here.
When applying for jobs, it’s more than likely that you will be in contact with the potential employers or placement agencies via phone prior to attending a face to face interview. Phone interviews are critical to recruiters and employers as they assist them in short listing applicants and ensuring that the applicant meets the selection criteria.
Phone interviews tend to make people a little nervous and because you don’t always know when you will receive the call, you may feel a little unprepared. However, if you follow these top tips, you will feel more prepared and increase your chances of getting a face to face interview.
Answer the phone in a professional manner
In most cases you won’t know when a recruiter is calling therefore, it is important to answer the phone in a professional manner every time you get a call. This could be a simple ‘Hello’ or a greeting and your name ‘ Hello, Kate speaking’. This is especially true if you don’t recognize the number calling. Don’t risk it and assume it’s a friend with a new number. When having a professional phone interview, there’s nothing worse than answering the phone with ‘hey’ or ‘hi’ or ‘yes’.
Get to a quiet place
Make sure that when you answer the call, you can actually take the call. Ensure that you are in a quiet place and that you can hear and they can hear you without background noise. If you don’t want to miss the call, answer and ask if you can call them back, then move to a quieter area and return the call.
Present yourself in a professional manner
The recruiter obviously can’t see you however, it’s important to present yourself in a professional manner. Avoid eating or drinking during the call and make sure that you give the interviewer your attention. Avoid trying to multitask but instead, focus on the phone call. If you need to make notes use a pen and paper. The sound of computer keys tapping can be very distracting over the phone.
Speak clearly and slowly
Answer all questions clearly and slowly. Don’t mumble and don’t interrupt or try to speak over the other person. You want to give the best impression so don’t rush. Think about your answers before you just blurt them out.
Prepare your information
Don’t ask the recruiter or potential employer ‘which job is this again’. It’s very common to apply for multiple jobs, which is fine, however; if you apply for so many that you can’t remember which one is which it doesn’t give a good impression. That person may start to wonder if you are having trouble getting a job. Best practice is to keep all your application documents in one place that you can easily access when you get a phone call. Have a printed copy of your resume to refer to. Print or save a copy of the each job you apply. This will also help you when they ask specific questions about the job criteria. If you have it, print out a copy of the job description. Be prepared and have as much information as you can.
Use the right tone and smile when you speak
Believe it or not, people can actually hear if you are smiling when speaking on the phone. Make sure that you have a suitable tone when speaking. Avoid acting rushed or in a hurry and don’t speak too loudly. The recruiter might think you are yelling. But you also want to be careful to speak loud enough that you can be heard.
Return the call in a timely manner
If you do receive a call regarding your application and you miss it, make sure that you return the call in a timely manner. Returning a call within 24 hours is a good rule of thumb. If you wait, you may have missed your opportunity, especially if they are interviewing straight away. Plus you want to make a good impression that you are on top of things and timely.
Whatever you do, take your phone interview seriously and give the recruiter the best possible impression that you can. At the end of the day, a good interview will go a long way to getting you a face to face interview and your face to face interview will get you closer to your ultimate goal which is getting that new job.