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In today’s reality where job positions are no longer limited by geographical borders, many organisations are opting telephonic interviews to select potential candidates ahead of calling them for a personal interaction. It is fast emerging as a useful way of gauging a candidate’s communication skills and to understand if the individual is capable enough for the next round.
It is hence very important for young job aspirants to be prepared for phone interviews while searching for jobs. Many organisations today, start the interview procedure with a phone call explaining the opportunity and to gauge the candidate’s interest in the position. Telephonic interviews also reduce the cost involved in interviewing candidates living at other cities and towns. Often for remote positions, it is only a phone interview that takes the final call.
Practice and preparation are critical
Interviews are usually planned in advance through email or phone calls. However, the candidates may also get a surprise phone call from the employer’s office. A recruiter or his HR can call and inquire if the candidate has a few minutes to talk. This being the norm in many cases, it is always advisable to be cautious about incoming calls, especially if the number is unknown. Also ensure that that the outgoing voicemail message is professional.
Telephonic interviews are known to last for nearly 30 minutes. It is the social profile, resume, and phone interview, of the candidate that recruiters take a call on his/her technical and cultural fit. These calls are never very thorough but to affirm what the resume says. Though one doesn’t need to prepare physically for the interview, telephonic interviews are no cake walks as the aspirant has to be mentally alert to promptly respond to all the queries thrown at him/her. These interviews often fail to specify if there is any possibility that would culminate in bagging the position.
Practice and preparation are critical to achieve success in a telephonic interview and words are all you will have to sell yourself to the recruiter.
Here are some tips and tricks to fare well in telephone interviews
Make a checklist. Reassess the job role and prepare a note of how your profile matches the eligibility criteria. Keep the note handy for easy reference during the interview.
Research – Try and find out as much as possible about the employer and the job position before the interview. It is vital to have clear idea about the company profile and objectives. Being aware of the ways the company works helps in streamlining the candidate’s story with that of the organisation.
The resume should be positioned conveniently – it could be placed on a desk or taped to the wall in front of you.
Pen and paper must be kept handy for taking notes.
Turn call-waiting off to avoid call interruption.
If the time of call is unsuitable request for an alternate timing and suggest some alternatives as well.
Have a room to yourself — Do not let kids and the pets in the room and turn off the volume of gadgets also do keep the door closed.
Landlines are a better option as they eradicate the chances of poor voice quality or dropped calls.
Do’s and Don’ts during phone interview
Address the interviewer by his/her title (Mr. or Ms. and their last name.)
Do not smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink during the interview.
Keep a glass of water nearby to avoid dry mouth, coughing and a catch in your throat.
Do smile; it will put forth a positive image to the interviewer. It can also advisable to go through the interview process standing as that gives the voice more vigour and zeal.
Do focus, take note, and articulate. It’s essential to concentrate on the interview and it is normally harder on phones than in face-to-face interviews. Listen to the question carefully, ask for explanation if needed, and speak slowly, cautiously but articulately while responding. It’s better to take a little time to arrange your thoughts before answering.
Never interrupt the interviewer.
Take notes – It is difficult to remember all the information shared.
Give succinct answers. It’s essential to stay focused on the questions and respond in few words.
Do ask questions. Be prepared with your questions as it is now a norm for interviewers to ask if the candidate has any queries.
Do away with all inhibition, self-doubt or it will show.
Proper phone interview etiquette
It is always good to answer the phone yourself and start by mentioning your name, i.e. John Myne (in an energetic voice). This helps the interviewer understand they have got the right guy.
Pay keen attention to the interviewer and start speaking only after the interviewer has finished his/her query. If you need clarifications, take note and enquire about it only when it’s your turn to talk. If you want a repetition of the question, ask the interviewer for it.
Follow-up after the interview
The aim is to get selected for a personal interview. At the end of the interaction and after thanking the interviewer do ask if you can meet in person.
Remember to write a thank you e-mail, thanking the interviewer for taking out time to conduct the interview on phone. This shows your seriousness about the prospective position as well as sounding very professional.
Never take a phone interview casually – start preparations in advance for better performance. Your success at the telephonic interview ensures your opportunity for the face-to-face round. It will be the differentiating factor in bagging the job you’ve always wanted. Be attentive to make sure that you leave a positive lasting impression on your potential employer.