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Sometimes phone interviews can be more daunting than an interview in person. From not being able to look someone in the eye, to being unable to communicate through body language, phone interviews are more about the metaphysical than the physical. So how do you master them?
Furthering the advice we have given in our previous article, The ultimate guide to aceing your job interview, this week we are focusing on how to behave if you are asked to participate in a phone interview.
A lot of experts will tell you that phone interviews should be treated the same as a face-to-face interview. However, psychologically, we believe that they are a few key differences that, if mastered, will make impressing an employer more of a formality than a challenge.
In jobseeking and recruitment there is a lot to be said for appearances. As vain as it sounds, hen attending a face-to-face interview it is normal for candidates to wear their smartest attire in order to ‘look the part’. This is considered an important part of preparing for an interview, with many psychologists suggesting that; by looking more professional you will act more professional. Whilst this might be true, this piece of advice becomes a bit redundant when you are interviewing over the phone, instead of in the flesh, although some experts may advice you to put on a suit anyway – to help you get in the mood.
Because of a lack of physicality during a phone interview, there is a much larger emphasise on the psychological aspect. Sometimes it can be harder to gage someone’s reaction if you can’t look them in the eye and read their body language.
To counter this, you will need to put greater emphasis on your enthusiasm through your voice, and generally be more energised – consider standing up and moving, if that’s how you naturally feel more expressive. As it silly as it sounds, use hand gestures if it helps you to convey your ideas more robustly. Even though the interviewer will be oblivious to these, it’s likely to help your tone of voice, and generally make you come across better.
Most people have a natural tendency to speak too quickly over the phone, and the person on the other end is inhibited by not being able to read your expressions or body language in order to keep up with you. Slowly your speech down can improve how you convey your ideas over the phone, allowing your statements and ideas to resonate more with your potential employer, instead of flooding them with too many ideas.
During any interview, you are asked many questions about you as a person, your career so far, and where you see yourself in the future. However, during certain points of your interview you will have the opportunity to ask questions yourself. Be subtle, and choose your questions carefully and sparingly – emphasising your interest for the role, but without exploiting the opportunity. We recommend that you close your interview with a question, perhaps asking when you can expect to hear the final decision of your employment. This will help your cause – confirming your absolute interest in working for the potential employer.
Most professions these days require a good sense of logic and common sense, the secret to solving any problems that you come across on a day-to-day basis, and forming the best strategy to overcome these. Generally, employers look for professionals with the means to stand on their own feet, and think of creative ways to deal with the various obstacles that we all face each day, or more major problems that are on the horizon.
Reaction time is everything in a phone interview. Employers will expect you to be prepared and ready for a thorough look into your career, and will be scrutinising your CV as much as possible.
To give truly effective answers, you will need to predict the questions that the interviewer will ask you before the interview itself. Look carefully at your CV from a neutral stance and think of what an employer will be interested in to get an idea of what questions you will be asked. You could even enlist the help of a friend or family member to ascertain exactly what your CV says about you, and any questions that they themselves might ask.
Once you have identified these areas, you should then be able to form concrete answers to probing interviewer questions that will crop up in your phone interview, helping to minimise your reaction time, and indicating your proficiency to your potential employer.