You have created your resume and written your cover letter. You have replied to the job application within plenty of time of the deadline. You have had confirmation of your submission and are now anxiously awaiting news of a possible interview. But wait a minute! You have gone back to check out the job advert only to realize that the company will be contacting successful candidates via telephone for a screening interview before being invited in for a personal interview.
Panic starts to set in…..
An increasing amount of companies are now using telephone interviews as part of their screening process for job applicants. Those who successfully make it through a telephone interview will then go on to be invited in for a more formal job interview with the company HR officer or interview panel. It is an efficient way for larger companies to sift through job applicants to find the ones that best fit their needs without having to schedule weeks of lengthy personal interviews.
Aside from treating telephone interviews in exactly the same way as you would a personal interview, just how can you make sure you are properly prepared should you receive a call?
Just like with regular interviews, there are some common phone interview questions that companies tend to use quite often. Here we offer up some tips about how to answer common phone interview questions as well as how to prepare yourself for that call.
Tip 1: Preparation
Whether you get a phone call or not, you should always do some preparation in anticipation of a call. Do your research so that you will never be caught off guard should you get that telephone interview when you least expect it.
Just like when preparing for a face-to-face interview, do some background research on the company so you can familiarize yourself with their history as well as their future objectives. Look at the size of the company and their infrastructure. Familiarize yourself with their products and services as well as the business sector or marketplace they work within. Look at who their main competition is and how they differ in a positive way. Read press-releases and news articles from their website.
Tip 2: Prepare some questions
Remember that your telephone interview is a two-way system. You are allowed to ask questions and doing so can make you stand out in the mind of the interviewer. By asking questions you are demonstrating your interest in the job and it also opens up a two-way dialogue with your interviewer that helps to break the ice and also gets across your personality more effectively.
Write down some questions on a pad and keep it within handy reach so that you can grab it when the phone rings. Keep a pen handy so you can note down the answers as they are covered. You could ask for more information about the position as well as the opportunities open for career growth, company culture and future plans.
Tip 3: Have your resume to hand
Always have a copy of your resume close by in an easy to reach place. You can pretty much guarantee that your telephone interviewer will be looking at a copy when they call you, so it makes sense to have a copy handy should they want to discuss it in more detail. It can help to have something to focus on during your interview. Normally you would be looking at your interviewer eye-to-eye, but with telephone interviews you will have no particular focus, so use your resume as your main focal point while you are talking or listening to your interviewer.
Tip 4: Smile while you chat
Yes, you read that right! Smile while you chat. While it may seem a little odd for use to suggest that you smile during your telephone interview, it actually works really well! OK, your telephone interviewer cannot actually see you smiling at the end of the telephone line, but by smiling your way through your interview it can really help you to feel better and less nervous about your call. Smiling can also help you to sound more upbeat and helps you to choose words or phrases that are more positive. Don’t believe it? According to research, it is true – people can actually hear you smile!
Tip 5: Listen carefully
OK, this may seem obvious because you are on the telephone, but many people having telephone interviews make the mistake of not listening properly. They do this because they allow their minds to race ahead of themselves and think up questions or things to say without actually paying full attention to what the interviewer is actually saying.