Did you miss part one of this blog last week? You can read it here.

A telephone interview is a pre-scheduled job interview. Popular with recruitment agencies and employers alike; they save time and help to keep interview costs down. However, telephone interviews do have their challenges. In most cases, you will be answering questions under a strict time limit and this can increase nerves. Not being able to see the interviewer also presents its own difficulties, as you’re unable to make a connection.

Tips for telephone interviews

Pick a suitable location – Avoid noisy, public spaces and instead choose a private, quiet location such as your home. If you live with family or friends, warn them in advance of the call that you need some peace. Unless your mobile is charged and receiving full reception, use a landline. Turn electronic devices to silent to avoid distraction.

Dress to impress – You shouldn’t treat telephone interviews any differently than face-to-face interviews. Dressing for the part helps to put you in a professional frame of mind and boosts confidence.

Smile – Smile to ensure that the interviewer hears the enthusiasm in your voice from the start. To convey energy and confidence, think about taking the call standing up.

Refer to your notes – Being able to have application documents and your notes to hand is one of the main advantages of a telephone interview, but don’t rely on them too much. Use concise bullet points as prompts, rather than pages of possible answers.

Have a glass of water ready – Interview nerves and lots of talking can lead to a dry mouth, so have a glass of water – the same as in a face-to-face interview.

Ask for clarification – If you miss a particular question, do not try to second guess what it might have been. Apologise and politely ask the interviewer if they can repeat it.

Take notes – If you’re able to multitask, write down any useful information provided by the employer and the questions you’re asked during the interview. These notes could be a valuable resource if you’re invited for a second interview.

Following up an interview

Just like in face-to-face interviews, employers expect you to have questions of your own. These could be about the role or the company. Stay away from questions about salary, holiday entitlement or start dates. It’s also perfectly acceptable, if the interviewer hasn’t mentioned it previously, to enquire about the next stage of the process and when you should expect to hear from them.

If you don’t hear back within a week, give them a call or send a short email to follow up. Reiterate your interest in the role and thank them again for their time. If you’ve been unsuccessful on this occasion, use this as a chance to ask for feedback on your performance so you can use the lessons learned in future applications.

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