Preparing for your phone interview

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Preparing for a phone interview?

By Mohammed Abumahlula; Competing for a job that you really want? Preparing for a call from the interviewer? In the world of recruitment, we always have to keep our guard up on what to expect. Every action we make in pursuit of a job role will be judged upon by the interviewer. There is no need to be stressed though; we will go through some tips on how to prepare for a stress-free and successful interview.

Understanding yourself and the role

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Find out what the typical list of questions a company may ask are, these can vary from general questions about your strengths and weaknesses to industry-specific questions. However, don’t just anticipate the questions you will be asked; think about questions you could ask. Asking questions will show the interviewer that you have a keen interest in finding out more about the role and the company. Interviewers like candidates that show an interest in addition to being able to answer questions well.

Read through the job description again. Remind and familiarise yourself of the role so that you understand what job you are competing for. It won’t look good if the interviewer finds out you don’t understand the basics of the job role as listed on the job description that you were expected to read. Additionally, make sure you find out more about the company so that you can impress them with your understanding of the company background and the things they do.

Review your CV and try to link it to the job role. Mention the qualifications and skills you possess which you believe can be transferred over to the interviewer’s business. Make sure you understand your own CV too. As an interviewee, you are trying to pitch yourself like a salesman, so knowing how to present yourself as a product with great value is important as it separates you from the other candidates. Think about what you would do when you go shopping, a lot of the time you would buy the product with the best value to you. The interviewer is like a shopper.

Interview technique

Practice! Make sure you are going to be at the top of your game when you get interviewed. Interviews can be nerve-wracking; you would be surprised how often people make mistakes in the way they speak. Try to detect any flaws you have with the way you speak during practice so that you can improve. Remember, practice makes perfect!

Some ideas of flaws to look out for may include the pacing in the way you speak, whether it is too fast or too slow. The interviewer needs to be able to keep up with what you are saying but at the same time do not bore the interviewer or cause them difficulty in understanding due to the slow pace. Ask your friends, family or work coach for advice.

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Look out for any habits and quirks you have such as saying ‘uh’, ‘um’ or ‘dunno’, you may even have a certain word that you start or end sentences too often with. You need to look professional, so stringing sentences together is important if you want to present yourself as a strong, decisive and confident character. 

Preparation

Now with the practice out the way, you can try to get as comfortable as possible by preparing some items. Having a short list summarising your accomplishments or a CV placed in front of you can be useful for reducing your thinking time when you aren’t sure about a question relating to yourself, remember that this is a phone interview so the interviewer won’t see this. Have a pen and paper ready to make notes, this may be useful so that you can review the interview later and possibly prepare for the next stage.

Check the date and time of the interviewer so that you don’t make a mistake and forget the call. Knowing the interviewer’s name will impress them even more and make the call feel more personal in a positive way, this places a positive impression in the mind of the interviewer. The interviewer will be increasingly influenced into choosing you for the next stage even without them always realising. A lot of interviewers choose their shortlisted candidates faster, so getting them in a good mood is more effective as their experience with you stays fresh in their mind.

Prepare a cup of water. Then find yourself a comfortable, quiet and private room to yourself to avoid any distractions. Close all the doors and turn off anything that creates sound such as the TV or radio. Using a landline instead of a mobile phone could help reduce the risk of poor reception. Once the call commences, greet them, smile and relax!

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The interview

Remember to speak slowly (not too slow) and clearly, do not rush through recklessly and start making mistakes. Take a moment to think if you need to. Keep your answers short and concise, try not to repeat yourself. Make sure to listen when the interviewer speaks and never interrupt them as that would be rude. Then when you are finished, ask the questions you prepared for the interviewer and ask when you will hear back on the outcome of the interview.

Once that is finished, say your goodbyes and look forward to hearing back to find out if you made it to the next stage or get an offer. It is common for strong candidates to fail when the competition is fierce and well prepared, but you just need to keep trying or perfect your technique for future interviews. With an attitude to keep bettering yourself, you will eventually succeed!