phone interview

Ace your next phone interview!

Make a good first impression by following this guide to a successful phone interview.

Hiring managers often do a phone interview with those whose CVs have impressed them. While there are different reasons for this, the main purpose is to weed out the inadequate (also known as the weirdos, liars and creeps) before the face-to-face meet. This saves the company time, effort and resources.

In order to NOT be considered completely incompetent, there are basic rules you must follow. Don’t be fooled into thinking a phone interview is more informal and less important than its on-site cousin, no. More than just exercising typical telephone etiquette, you will still have to implement essential job interview manners too.

The best thing you can do for yourself ahead of your telephone interview is to prepare properly.

Make time

The last thing you want is to sound rushed over the phone. Ensure that you are relaxed, and able to speak as long as the interviewer needs you to.

Get ready as if you’re going to an office meeting

Experts say that if you look great, you’ll feel great. And if you feel great, it’ll convey over the phone. The opposite is also true: slouching and wearing pyjamas will have a negative impact on your state of mind and how you convey yourself. 

Have your CV and cover letter in front of you

Interviews are usually nerve-wrecking. Whether you are the type to get nervous or not, we suggest that you have all relevant documents in front of you.

If at any point the interviewer references something you’ve mentioned in your CV or cover letter, there’ll be no chance for you to reveal contradictory or confusing information.

Have a cheat sheet with you

Being nervous can sometimes lead one to forget all words and thoughts. Avoid letting the cat catch your tongue by jotting down a few keywords relevant to your profession, your skills, and also the answers to typical interview questions.

But use keywords only! The recruiter will know if you’re reading. And that’s worse than blanking.

Have the original job ad with you

You’ll have the upper hand if you’re able to refer to the job role and its specifics. Take note of the responsibilities and skills needed especially. This is a great tip if you’re a serial job hunter that easily loses track of all the vacancies you often apply for.

Answer the phone with your name

Saying your name with self-assurance when you answer the phone is an excellent way to make a good first impression. Not only will you ooze confidence, but there will be no awkward intermission of the interviewer asking to speak to you.

Make sure you’re sitting upright or standing

While body language in a face-to-face interview is crucial, you may not have known that it’s just as vital over the phone.

Make sure you smile too. But in a relaxed way. Not a forced or fake way. Think friendliness.

Don’t ask about salary

In fact, you should avoid all selfish questions. This opportunity should be used to sell yourself. Remember, the aim is to make it to the next round. You aren’t winning anything or beating anyone yet, so stay humble.

If you don’t, don’t be surprised if the offer disappears.

The secret tip: Listen to talk radio during your free time.

Sound strange? It’s actually genius. Subconsciously, you’ll be learning various techniques. Listening to radio means you’ll be using your imagination to picture what’s being said or told; you picture Bryan Habana scoring a try in your head or Julius Malema being thrown out of parliament. This is a valuable skill to have.

You’ll also be more familiar with voice and tone usage, professional language, conversational etiquette and focusing and listening while avoiding physical distractions.

When it ends

Finally, the general rule of thumb is to follow up afterwards. If you don’t already have their contact information, ask for it before you hang up the phone. Within the next 48 hours, you should send a thank you email and reaffirm your interest in the position. Keep this email short and professional.

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