Recruitment agencies and companies can call you at any time. You want to ensure that you are prepared for the call and not caught unawares.
It is always best to have a call scheduled at an appropriate time and be prepared.
Below are the top 7 tips that I may suggest you follow, to do well in a phone interview.
1. Get Precise Details and Do Your Research
This means knowing:
The time of your phone interview (and in what time zone!)
Who exactly would be the caller (interviewer) and his/her position in the company.
Duration of the call and what number would the call come on (mobile or landline)
Any specific agenda for the call (general or technical)
Email address of the interviewer or coordinator (if possible)
You may want to the begin by sending an email in a format similar to the below
Thank you for your call confirming my interview with [Interviewer Name and Position] on [date] at [time]
I confirm my availability and look forward to presenting my candidature for this position. [Your Name]
If for any reason the interviewer calls you out of the blue without any prior warning, (unless you are prepared), you may want to request a more convenient date and time and explain the reasons why.
Do a thorough research on the Interviewer and his/her background, the company from their website and social media and read the job description carefully a couple of times.
2. Create a Cheat Sheet and Print Your CV
The advantage of a phone interview is that you can have a "cheat sheet" and your CV right in front of you without the interviewer having any clue. Body language remains undetected and any hints can be found in voice only.
Your cheat sheet can consist of answers to questions that you may have prepared or researched. You can also keep the company website any researched web pages in front of you and make points on "sticky notes".. You can also keep a printout of your CV and highlight any key points that you want to share during the call. You may also want to keep reminders on awareness patterns like "listen carefully" or "talk slowly" or "an experience not mentioned in your CV" or "answers to situation" based questions. All this can make your interview less stressful.
3. Find a Quiet, Comfortable, and Convenient Place
Make sure that you are taking the call from a quiet place, free from distractions - people, pets, traffic and environmental noises. Lock yourself in a room to prevent someone barging in during your interview. Choose a comfortable chair and desk with stationary. Test your internet connection and make sure your phone does not allow a 2nd call distraction. Keep a water bottle(in case your throat dries up), clean glass, a notepad and 2 pens handy.
4. Distractions and Worst Case Scenarios
Use a fully charged noise cancellation headset to take the call. Make sure your phone and laptop are fully charged and chargers are within hand reach (just in case)
And—this is key—use headphones! They will minimize surrounding noise and help you to further focus on the conversation.
Test all electronic devises 15 minutes prior to your interview and call a up a friend or family member and ask if they can hear you all right.
5. Start Off Strong and Break the Ice
Be on time and pick up the call on the second or third ring. Picking up the call in the very first ring makes you look desperate or anxious.
You can start off with something like, “Hello, this is [Your Name]”. Thank for calling (Mr/Ms X). It is great to speak with you.” You speaking will immediately make the interviewer understand your professionalism and communication skills.
You do not have to jump straight into business! Feel free to ask the interviewer his /her day’ has been Participating in small talk is a polite and easy way to keep the good vibes rolling and connect with your interviewer—just keep it brief and business appropriate.
In a worst case scenario, if some kind of interruption or background sound occurs, apologize and address it—better to pause than to continue on obliviously while the interviewer is straining on the other end trying to understand what you are saying. If background noise is unavoidable, mute yourself when you are not speaking.
6. There must be Enthusiasm in Your Voice
One of the biggest let downs for most interview calls is people not sounding energetic or enthusiastic. You may need to work extra hard to show that you are an enthusiastic and energetic person.
Try and use gestures and smile while you talk. Both will automatically inject emotion into your voice. Get up and walk around if that keeps you lively. And if something’s funny, laugh! That’s allowed!
Keep an eye on how loud you are speaking and try to lower the volume when you find yourself getting too animated.
7. Listen and Talk Slowly
Do not make the interviewer repeat their questions again and again. It is annoying. Pay attention, practice active listening, and do not multitask like reading your notes or researching something on the internet during the conversation. Attentive listening is a skill which most talkers lack.
I once interviewed with someone who naturally spoke super fast. I loved her energy, but because her words came out so rapid-fire a lot of our conversation consisted of me asking, “Could you repeat that?”
Self-awareness is crucial when you’re talking on the phone. With only your voice to carry you through, you want to make sure everything you are saying is clear and concise.