When it comes to recruiting the right person for the job, phone interviews have long been a popular tool for employers and training providers. For many years, they’ve often used phone interviews to carry out an initial screening – typically this involves carrying out a few basic checks and getting to know you a bit, before the employer decides whether to invite you to their workplace for a more formal interview.
However, with the government putting new measures in place to tackle the outbreak of COVID-19, it’s likely that phone interviews – as well as video interviews – will become a much more vital part of the recruitment process. You may even find that employers will be looking to hire someone off the back of a single phone interview. It’s now more important than ever to not underestimate the power of the phone interview!
If the pre-phone interview nerves are getting to you, it’s even more important to remember this: it’s totally fine and normal to be anxious before, and even during an interview. Not everyone thrives when being put on the spot over the phone and employers are fully aware of this, especially if they’re calling you without arranging a time with you beforehand. What matters to them is how you handle those nerves and present yourself over the phone.
Need some advice and tips to smash that phone interview and bag yourself a second meeting with that interviewer you’re looking to impress? We’ve got you covered!
It’s always good to have a physical copy of your CV within easy reach, as interviewers can often refer to it during the call. It’s good practice to have something to take notes with too, a pen and a piece of paper would be fine. Try and keep anything which will distract you during the interviews – no tablets, no consoles, no unnecessary glaring screens!
Wherever you choose to do your phone interview, make sure that you are comfortable. It’s important to find somewhere quiet and where you’re not likely to be interrupted. If you do your phone interview at home and you live with other people, you may want to let them know that you’re doing the phone interview – hopefully you live with someone nice enough to give you the peace and quiet you’ll need!
If you do find yourself interrupted during the interview – let’s say that you hear the doorbell ring and you’re the only person home – the best thing you can do is continue with the interview and deal with whoever is ringing your doorbell when you’ve finished the interview. However, if it is unavoidable – for example, you’re a vulnerable person expecting a food delivery or prescription to arrive – finish the point you’re making and politely ask the interviewer if they may excuse you for a moment. If they approve, mute your microphone, calmly deal with the interruption and return to the interview as quickly as possible.
It’d be even better practice for you to let the interviewer know at the start of the call that you’re expecting this interruption, and to check before the interview starts that this is okay with them. Whatever you do, don’t forget to apologise for the interruption and say thank you to the interviewer for waiting!
Depending on the phone numbers you’ve put at the top of your CV, interviewers will often call you on your mobile phone in case you’re not home at the time. However, you’re less likely to be attacked by the Low Signal Gremlins if you do the interview on a landline phone (if you have one).
Obviously your employer will not be able to see you during your phone interview, so this one is your call. However, you may find that dressing in smarter attire makes you feel more focussed and puts you in a more professional mindset for the interview than if you were sat chatting to the interviewer while still in your pyjamas or a pair of trackies.
It is important to speak as clearly as you can during the interview, especially if phone signal is a little bit patchy, but it’s just as important to just be yourself! Talk in a way that is comfortable for you while remaining professional and polite. Nobody is expecting you to be speaking the Queen’s English, but at the same time avoid colloquial language and slang words as much as you can.
When you’re nervous, you’re much more likely to talk faster, and it’ll sound like you’re rushing or even panicking. If you feel conscious of tripping over your words or muddling up your speech, it’s totally okay to pause and take a deep breath before continuing. This will help you articulate your speech and talk at a slower, more regular pace.
Have you been invited to a video interview by an employer or training provider? Click here to check out our blog full of advice and tips to help you excel in that interview!
Further reading around Covid-19 and early careers:
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