Phone interviews are very common in today’s world but are they easier for the candidate? You may think it is as you are in the comfort of your home but are you too relaxed? On the positive side, you may have your CV or notes to refer. You may be barefoot and dressed in t-shirt and shorts.
The common mistake candidates make on phone interviews is sounding disengaged, dull or distracted. A major disadvantage is you cannot see the interviewer’s facial expression or read his or her body language so it is difficult to respond effectively or imitate their body language.
|Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and author stuart miles
It is well acknowledged that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery therefore imitating certain behaviours and attitudes can help you to make a quick connection the other person. This is referred to as ‘mirroring.’ When someone mirrors your movements, you will probably start to mirror theirs. This will make both parties more empathetic.
With no visual cues, the interviewer is paying extra close attention to the content of your answers and to glean what they can from your voice. Lacklustre answers or low drive could be read as lack of interest and stop you from getting a further interview.
You need to prepare yourself for your telephone interview as you would for a live interview so research the company and prepare your answers for the questions which are often asked.
A day before the interview, you should confirm the date and time with your interviewers; let them know that you are looking forward to it.
Treat this telephone interview as you would on an on-site interview. Ideally stand for the entire interview and have any relevant paperwork in front of you; this should be in bullet points. Pretend you are delivering a speech so you need to sound energetic and positive. Make sure there are no background noises or you are not disturbed during the interview. If using your mobile, check that you have good phone signal or, if possible, use a landline.
You should make every effort not to sound overly serious or shy so smile or laugh when appropriate.
The interviewer cannot see the smile but can hear the cheerful sound in your voice. Remember your CV with your skills and qualifications got you noticed to generate this telephone interview, but it is your personality and commitment that will entice the interviewer to invite you for the second interview which, undoubtedly be face to face.