Dos and Don’ts for your next telephone interview

An interview can be a daunting task to get through at the best of times, but if a potential employer requests a telephone interview, you might have even more trouble making an impression. At least in face-to-face, or on-video call interviews, you can work off the reactions of the people interviewing you to tell if an anecdote is coming off well, or whether you should pump the breaks. It’s a readjustment to get your head around a telephone interview, so we’ve got a few tips to help you put your best foot forward. Read our dos and don’ts for a telephone interview.

Do smile

You can hear a smile. You can definitely hear a smile. It might be a lost art to talk on the phone without starting the conversation with “How can I help you?” but if you remember long chats with your BFF, you know you can hear a smile. So, smile, and simply emulate the friendly personable person you would be in a face-to-face interview, and your interviewer will pick up on it. Without a smile, you’ll sound tired, bored, and uninterested. Instead, gesture where you need to and speak with enthusiasm.

Don’t interrupt

But don’t get carried away on a telephone interview. It’s already hard to tell where an interviewee should stop and an interviewer should fire you with their next question without an awkward pause, but embrace the awkward pause. It’s better than coming off as pushy or rude by interrupting.

Do your research/have answers ready

It’s not cheating to have a script. You can take an educated guess at what you’re going to be asked and prepare answers accordingly. This is important because what words you use to sound professional will be particularly important here. You’re not going to get by on that charming smile (although it helps). At the same time, look up the company. Any mention in the press? Put together bullet points on the point of their company and brand and supplement them with why you would fit right in. It will inform all your other answers even if that’s not a question.

Don’t dress casual

We’ve all learned from working from home in our jammies that that just isn’t going to cut it when we need to get serious. You’re taking your interview seriously, and you need to be in the right mindset, and simply getting into some, let’s say “outdoor clothes” will get you there. Something about even a pair of jeans rather than your indoor sweatpants will prompt you into work mode and fire up your brain. We know they can’t see you in a telephone interview: dress well anyway for yourself. It’ll improve your confidence if nothing else.

Do check your phone connection

Is there anything worse than not being able to get through? As much as technology takes one step forwards, it takes two steps back. “You can now hologram yourself from space… if you have a signal”. Avoid an awkward attempt at an apology because only half your sentence is coming through. Oh, and make sure that the smartphone you’re using is fully charged. You don’t know how long they’ll talk for. Can your phone handle an hour-long conversation?

Don’t use the speakerphone

The speaker makes things harder to hear. It’s simply a fact. Plus, there’s something a little more private about talking without the speaker. You sound like a speaker at a conference on speakerphone but talking directly on the phone is between two people. As a compromise, you can use an earpiece or headset to make sure you’re speaking clearly but you have your hands free.

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