This article is designed to show you how to ace a telephone interview.

For many the prospect of taking part in a telephone interview can be daunting. Telephone interviews are generally used by companies as screening processes and form the basis of their decision to invite you to a face to face interview or not!  You will find a lot of online sources listing the common-sense steps for preparing for a telephone interview i.e. Have a glass of water, be in a quiet area, have a pen and paper ready etc.

While many candidates focus on the downsides of telephone interviews i.e. can’t see the interviewer/read their body language etc. there are some positives too, for example you can have your CV at hand to refer to and you can have notes/some answers you have already prepared based on the job description ready also.

With all interviews preparation is everything and this is also very true of telephone interviews, the last thing you want is for large pauses to happen due to you not being prepared for a question and not being able to come up with an answer in a timely fashion. Do your best to prepare as much as possible by making that match to your experience and the job description requirements, have those examples written down and beside you while you are on the phone, be sure also to do your research on the company and be able to tell list their successes, their mission statement/values etc. and make the point that this is exactly the type of environment you want to progress your career in.

So that’s all good advice but how to ace a telephone interview by making a connection with the interviewer? We all know body language plays a part in face to face interviews. Your body language has the potential to be a real winner or be a real turn off.  For an interview, you should be relaxed, confident and open and then your body language will reflect this. It is the same for a telephone interview where your “tone of voice” is your body language.

Do not underestimate the power of a tone of voice and how you can use it to your advantage. How often have you heard the quip “It’s not what you said it’s how you said it”?  Some good advice is for you to smile and stand up when speaking, then you project a sense of confidence.  But you can take it a step further; be aware of the interviewer’s tone and mimic it. How direct are they, what is the sound level of their voice, the flow of speech etc.? be sure to project a sense of energy and interest in the job and company.

Your communication skills will be assessed naturally by the interviewer during the call. The biggest turn offs in an interview whether on the phone or in person is someone who comes across as too pushy and hard to control, or overly nervous. You may find you are answering a question or speaking while the interviewer is also still speaking, try not to ‘talk over’ the interviewer, use your listening skills,  allow the interviewer to control the flow of the call, the interviewer will ensure you have the opportunity to speak.

Of course you need to sell yourself but it’s not all about the skills needed for a role, cultural fit, sense of energy/motivation and interest are all as important as the technical skills/experience required and form the basis of how to ace a telephone interview.

Finally structure your answers so you don’t ramble off and forget your train of thought.  Make some notes of your relevant skills in advance of the call. Following the STAR Interview format will be a real benefit and provide structure to your answers so you feel comfortable through having good examples ready to speak about.



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