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The 8 Steps you need to Smash that Phone Interview

Posted on Jul 16, 2019

Phone interviews are a more and more common first point of screening for companies and recruiters alike when on the hunt for a candidate. They require less time and organisation than a face to face interview and generally provide greater accuracy at the face to face interview stage.

For candidates however, a phone interview can sometimes be off putting and impersonal. Candidates worry that making an impression is harder during a phone interview and they can impress more in person.

There are a lot of great benefits to candidates however in starting with a phone interview and taking advantage of them will see you absolutely ace it.

So how do you get the best out a phone interview?

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1. Dress the Part

One of the biggest mistakes candidates make with phone interviews is not treating them exactly the same way they would an in person meeting. So the first piece of advice we give candidates is to get dressed up as though they are meeting the interviewer face to face.

“But they can’t see me – why do I need to get dressed up?” I hear you ask – getting appropriately dressed switches your brain into work / interview mode which focuses your thinking. It also creates self-image which whether you buy into the idea or not, will project a professional mental image of yourself through the phone.

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2. Set the Mood

And this doesn’t mean whacking on some Barry White instead, find a quiet place where noise isn’t an issue and you’re unlikely to be interrupted. One of the worst things for an interviewer (or a candidate) is not being able to hear clear answers because of background noise (or a dodgy phone line).

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3. Write a “Cheat Sheet”

“Cheat Sheet” might be the wrong terminology, but the basic idea is spot on. Pre-write a list of points that you’d like to convey to your interviewer ahead of time. Having a list in front of you (alongside your CV) of your achievements, projects and / or relevant information takes the stress from your brain of having to remember everything you want to get across.

It can also help you answer well if you find yourself stuck on a question.

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4. Research

Going hand in hand with having your CV and a cheat sheet handy, is being prepared. Make sure you’ve thoroughly researched the company, the team, the job (as far as you can) and anything else that might be relevant to the interview. The better prepared you can be, the more likely you are to absolutely ace the interview.

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5. Project Energy

As the interviewer can’t see you, it’s incredibly important to project energy into your voice. When one of our consultants has a difficult call to make, the rule in this office is that they have to stand up. We advise the same thing for phone interviews.

Stand up, move around and use your body language to project power. When your head is held high and your shoulders are back and down, you open your diaphragm allowing you to project more power and energy through your voice.

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6. Smile

Would you smile at the interviewer in a face to face meeting? Absolutely, so ensure you do during a phone interview as well. Smile, laugh when appropriate and allow them to feel your personality.

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7. Be Concise / Answer the Question

It’s easy to ramble on in a phone interview (and in person) but try and make sure that you directly answer the question in a concise and informative way. You don’t have to be dry, by all means please inject your personality into the conversation, but make sure you answer the question.

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8. Thank the Interviewer

Seems pretty common sense, but you’d be amazed how often the common courtesy of thanking the interviewer for their time is ignored. Make sure that you thank them for their time. Good will goes a long way.