Telephone interviews are one of the initial methods to screen candidates. They are meant to be a relatively quick and easy way to narrow down the massive pool of applicants, before compiling a short list for on premise interviews.
The desired response of a telephone interview is to secure a face-to-face interview. The response of a telephone interview is slightly different from that of a face-to-face interview. The telephone interview is designed to lead to a face-to-face interview.
Here is how to prepare for a telephone interview. Although, it is customary for interviewers to give you an advance notice of a telephone interviews, some will not. They will just ring up and go for it. Once you start sending out applications, be prepared for telephone interviews. That call can come at 8 am Monday morning, 7 pm Friday evening or 9 pm Sunday night.
Practice your voice projection. Speak aloud to practice. Ask someone else to listen to you or even record and play yourself back. It's amazing how different you sound. You will notice the bad habits...the "errrrrrs" and "ummmmmms."
Obviously, telephone practice as well as general interview and question practice are essential. Further, you should be able to demonstrate a good knowledge regarding the job, company, its' products and services and even its' competitors...that means undertaking research.
Try to anticipate the questions you'll be asked that demonstrate you can do the job. Then, prepare accordingly. Technical questioning on the telephone is common - as a means to screen candidates. The questions may not in great depth, but should be known by a good candidate.
During the interview, the interviewer has only ears with which to judge you, and that is something you must exploit.
Some Telephone Interview Tips
Have your research and company notes to hand. You should also have a copy of the resume that you sent to that company. Remember, the most effective resume are those that are especially tailored
Take a "surprise" call in your stride. If you are looking for work then no telephone interviews should really be a "surprise."
Be calm and collected. Remember to slow your breathing...at least try by counting to 5 with each inhale and exhale
Smile: it really makes a difference in your voice so much so that the person on the other end can tell when you are smiling
Sound positive, friendly, and collected
If you need time say..."Thank you for calling. Would you wait just a moment while I close the door?" Rest the phone as you pull out your resume and company information
Be professional, as if it was a face-to-face interview. Don't be over-familiar with the interviewer. It does happen!
You should always refer to the interviewer by his or her surname until invited to do otherwise
Listen carefully to the interviewer. Listening and communication skills are essential
Be factual in your answers
Do not smoke or eat while on the phone
Shut out all background noise, such as pets, children playing and the television
Take notes: They will be invaluable to you in preparing for the face-to-face meeting. No need to record the conversation...that is a bit over the top!
Prompt the interviewer to invite you to interview by saying, "I am immediately available for interview if you would like to arrange one now."
Taking care to ascertain the correct spelling and pronunciation of the interviewer's name shows your concern for the small but important things in life--it will be noticed
If you require more details like a Job Description or Person Specification ask for one
Thank the interviewer for her time and that you hope to hear soon. No harm in saying that you are very keen for a face-to-face interview. One school of thought asserts that you should ask three times for an interview; subtly of course.
It is difficult to evaluate an opportunity properly over the telephone. Even if the job doesn't sound right, go to the interview. At the very minimum it will give you practice
Moreover, once you attend a face-to-face interview the job may look that bit more attractive as you gather more facts. You might even discover a more suitable opening elsewhere within the company; it does happen
Telephonic interview implies responding to recruiters queries through phone. It is an effective method to measure a person’s communication and listening skills. The process can be automated or non-automated. An automated telephonic interview involves answering a series of standard questions and in a non-automated telephonic interview, there is a direct contact with the recruiter.
A telephonic interview can happen in three circumstances:
- When you initiate a call to the recruiter and they show interest. The call from thereon is an interview.
- A company calls you based upon a previous contact.
- You have a designated time to talk to a company's representative.
How can you make telephonic interview successful?
- Never jump to take an unexpcted and unplanned call. Excuse yourself and ask them to reschedule the call.
- Keep your resume handy.
- Rehearse answers related to your accomplishments as it is a commonly asked question and a good way to impress the recruiters.
- Keep your research material ready to act as reference point.
- Stay ready to take notes.
- Ward off anything and everything in the room that can distract.
- Keep yourself calm in body and mind.
- Make sure you need no break during the water, not even for getting a glass of water ot attending to nature's call.
- Turn off call waiting on your phone, warm up your voice while waiting for the call, have a glass of water handy, turn off your stereo, TV and any other possible interruption.
- Finally, be ready with the answers to the basic questions and to rehearse them in front of the mirror to gain confidence.
- Listening skill is a crucial component during the interview process. Comprehend the questions well and give to the point answers.
- Avoid talking in between and let the recruiter complete his thought or question before you speak.
- It is important to speak at a slow pace and be clear so that the interviewer can understand what you are saying.
- Do not use unprofessional language and sound courteous and polite. Thank the interviewer once the interview process is complete.
Most importantly keep your tone pleasant as most interviewers are experienced and can easily judge the comfort level of the candidate, so it is important to smile and stay relaxed. Give your best during the telephonic interview as it will pave the way for further interactions.
Some helpful hints:
* Introduce yourself clearly and directly. Engage in some “small talk” at the start of the interview, just as you would a face-to-face interview.
* Speak clearly into the receiver and modulate your voice. Your voice is the only way you have of showing eagerness, enthusiasm and zest for the job. Your voice reveals both your personality and your attitude toward the caller. Don’t forget to smile! It makes a big difference in a conversation, even on the telephone.
* Have your resume and the job advertisement with you for reference, and a pencil and some paper to make notes.
* Some students find that it helps to dress for a telephone interview as you would for a face-to-face interview – it often helps to psychologically prepare you for this form of business “meeting”.
* No matter how or where your interview is conducted, you should still have the same goal: to communicate to the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the position for which you are being interviewed. If the interview has been scheduled in advance, you should prepare as carefully as you would for a formal “sit down” in someone’s office.
* Eliminate any distractions from your immediate environment (desk toys, newspaper clippings, your shopping list). Dress professionally and maintain good posture. The one bonus to a telephone interview is that you can prearrange notes to prompt you and to keep you on track, but only if you can refer to them unobtrusively. You do not want the person on the other end of the line to hear you shuffling papers in the background!
Before taking up a Telephonic interview
- Keep your resume in front of you.
- Keep all of your employer research materials within easy reach of the phone.
- Have a notepad handy to take notes.
- Turn off your stereo, TV, and any other potential distraction.
- Warm up your voice while waiting for the call. Sing an uplifting song to yourself.
- Have a glass of water handy, since you will not have a chance to take a break during the call.
- Speaking of breaks, if your phone interview is at a set time, make sure you answer nature's call first.
- Do take telephonic interview as seriously as a personal interview.
- If the call is unexpected, ask for a reschedule. It is always OK.
- You need to have enthusiasm and sound confident while answering the questions.
- Always put across the details on your experience, skills and your strong points.
- Answers need to be precise to the questions asked, at the same time do not miss out to list out your strengths.
- Avoid / Minimize distractions. Always take a telephonic interview in a quiet place.
- Avoid using mobile as there can be some signal problem and it may be problematic.
- If using a mobile do not switch on the voice message.
After Telephonic interview
- fter a phone interview, send a thank-you note by email that recaps your best selling points.
- You can also follow up to know the result of the interview.
- Be articulate. Practice asking yourself questions, then answer them with confidence in front of the mirror. This will give you an idea of your facial expressions and pronunciation.
- Keep your answers brief and to the point.
- You must know where to stop and start while answering questions. Never talk non-stop. Control the speed of your speech.
- Listen carefully to the interviewer's questions. Understand the question and start your answer by recollecting your experiences and knowledge.
- If you are not able to understand the question clearly, ask the Interviewer to repeat it. Request for more related information if you are not sure about the answer.
- If you don't know the answer or haven't used a particular method or tool, please say "I don't know" or "I haven't experienced that situation " or " I haven't used that tool, but if given the opportunity, I can learn fast". An Interviewer will always take it positively when you admit the truth.
- While starting a conversation, introduce yourself with your first name and last name (if any) and greet your Interviewer with a "How are you" or "Hi" or "How are you doing"
- If the Interviewer discusses issues regarding country, lifestyle, weather, accommodation, language, driving, culture, politics, food and family background (rare) - answer briefly.
- Please keep a copy of your resume in front of you. The interviewer may ask about individual project details, your roles, responsibilities, major accomplishments, product advantages, techniques followed, tools used, and your involvement in that project. Refer to your resume quickly and answer the question promptly.
- Don't be nervous or panic. Be cool, enjoy yourself. Remember you have the skills the client needs. Never show or express unwillingness to be interviewed. Even if you are not interested in that job or client, don't discourage the interviewer especially after having started a dialogue with him/her. If you decide on another client call the Interviewer, thank him and give a valid reason for not joining.
- After successfully completing the interview process, if interviewer asks "do you have any questions ?", ask! Clarify issues related to company background, place of work if hired, starting date and timings. Do not ask about the position offered, rates at this stage since those issues come under the negotiation process.
- Don't raise or talk about issues related to discrimination against race, religion, color, country and sex. These are extremely touchy topics and are best avoided.
- Don't use slang words.
- Don't stretch an argument.
- After completion of interview, say "Thanks" or "Thanks for your time" or "Thanks for your time and have a good morning/evening day" and put down the phone very slowly.
- If the interviewer makes a positive offer and you are satisfied with it, it would be nice if you said the following: "Thanks for giving me an opportunity to work with your company and I will do my best to prove my skills....."
- If you are asked to briefly introduce your entire work experiences, take 30 seconds to explain all major points, client names and contributions you have made. I recommend you practice this by writing down the exact contents and reading it aloud in front of the mirror.
- Always be positive.
- Try to answer all questions with practical examples based on your previous experience. This way, you can recollect your experiences and prove that you have faced challenging situations in your career.
- If you feel you lack adequate communication skills, attempt to regularly converse with friends on general topics. Listen to the radio, watch discussion oriented TV programs. Talk to yourself in front of mirror and watch for, speed, lip movements and body language.
- After the interview is over, recollect what you did, how you performed. Note down where you were lacking. These points will help you better your performance the next time around.
- References always works well no matter where you are applying. Managers and HR departments will always cross check with the references you have provided. So have at least 3 references who can give them a very clear picture about your experience and skill set.
- If you are not hired, don't loose heart. There may be several reasons for the client/consulting company to reject the applicant even after a successful interview:
- Budget constraints
- Terms with medical staffing company are not agreeable to client
- Salary not agreeable to client
- Medical staffing company is getting better offer for you from a different client.
- Medical staffing is not willing to send you because of short term assignment.
- Client is not ready to sponsor your Work Visa and has restrictions in company corporate policies.
- Lack of communication skills - actively work towards improving your communication skills.
- Lack of leadership qualities.
- Applicant skills and experience is not matched with client requirements - you can't do anything. You have nothing to lose. Find another Company where they can match your skills and knowledge set.
- Not enough number of references - ensure that you have enclosed at least three excellent references.
- Not ready to pay you what you want - before asking what you want, you need to do little market survey based on your experience. You need to go through Salary Survey and learn more about general company HR policies too.
We hope these tips will be of use to you for your next telephonic interview. Never hesitate to ask for help from others. Gather as much information as you can about the company and position you have applied for.
Be Prepared For preparing the phone interview, there are several things you can do. To prepare for the phone interview you can consider the following points:
You can keep all of your employer research materials within easy reach of the phone.
You can tape your resume to a wall near the phone. It will help a lot during the call and will be a constant reminder for your job search.
Have a notepad handy to take notes.
If the phone interview will occur at a set time, Following are some additional points you have to consider:
Turn off call waiting on your phone.
Place a “Do Not Disturb” note on your door.
Warm up your voice while waiting for the call.
Have a glass of water handy, so that you will not have a chance to take a break during the call.
Turn off your stereo, TV, and any other potential distraction.
Do not be afraid to pick up the phone The first step in the hiring process is the telephone interview. It may happen that when you pick up the phone, the call may be from any company. Then that time ask the recruiter to repeat his or her name. Verify the spelling and write it down. Use the recruiter’s name in your response.
If there is really any problem for you to talk, then ask for a telephone number and a convenient time to call back. You are now ready to make a good impression during your first five minutes.
The phone interview tips will help you master the phone interview and get you to the next step - the face to face interview. So do not afraid to pick the phone.
Be a good listener During telephonic interview, you must keep in mind that you must be a good listener.
Avoid interrupting and let the recruiter complete his thought or question before you respond. Ask for clarification. Use open-ended questions. The more information you can gather, the better you can respond. We must know the fact that good listener is the best quality.
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