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.