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Planning a better future
Planning a better future

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8.7 Telephone interviews

An increasing number of companies are using the telephone in the first stage of the interviewing process. They do this in several ways:

  • Fully automated: you receive a letter giving a freephone telephone number to ring. You hear a list of statements and press a number on the telephone keypad to indicate your response.
  • Structured: a mutually convenient time is fixed in advance for the interview. You’re taken through a series of questions that are recorded and analysed by trained interviewers. The questions are designed to establish whether or not you have the required skills for the job.
  • Screening: you’re questioned on various aspects of your CV or application form to decide whether you’ll be invited to a personal interview.
  • A sales exercise: you’re given an opportunity to sell a product over the phone. This technique is used for recruiting sales, marketing or telesales staff.

The advice that follows about face-to-face interviews applies just as much to telephone interviews, but some things are especially important:

  • Try to arrange the interview for a time and place where you won’t be interrupted.
  • Keep your application and any other prepared notes with you.
  • Consider how you might come across over the telephone, using the following questions:
    • Do you speak loudly enough?
    • Is your voice clear or do you have a tendency to mumble?
    • Do you sound confident and interested, or monotonous or tentative?
  • Don’t forget to smile when you’re talking on the telephone, as you would when talking to someone face-to-face. The smile won’t be seen but it can be heard.
  • Standing up while talking on the telephone can make you sound more confident.
  • Some candidates dress in the clothes that they would wear to an interview to put themselves in the right frame of mind.