Interviewing

How to succeed in your telephone interview

Question:

I’m about to have a phone interview for a position I’m very interested in. However, I am not used to this kind of practice. Are there any ways to be well prepared?

Answer: A telephone interview is not that different from a face-to-face interview .

The objective of a telephone interview remains the same as that of an in-person interview, i.e. to get to know the candidate based on his or her answers to the questions asked in order to determine whether he or she is interested, and interested, in a particular position. The questions may be similar, as may the manner in which they are answered.

This can be used for several reasons, first of all, distance. If you live in Montreal and you are interested in a job in California, it would be interesting to do a telephone interview first for practical reasons because, although the California sun is very pleasant, it would be a shame to have moved if, in the first 5 minutes of the interview, you feel that you do not have the profile you are looking for.

Before investing further in a more elaborate approach, the recruiter (or employer) wants to know if your application fits the job profile sufficiently. A selection process is time-consuming. Therefore, since it does not require travel, the telephone interview can be shorter and the questions more direct. The recruiter can check your career ambitions, salary expectations, knowledge or experience and see that the basic essential criteria are met.

This step can take place before or after the receipt of the resume. This is a preliminary step that, if successful, may lead to a second interview, this time in person.

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…but it still differs from a face-to-face interview.

Communicating by telephone is special in that, deprived of eye contact, the interlocutors do not have access to each other’s non-verbal communication. You can only rely on your voice to convey information, which can change your impact and is quite a challenge knowing that, according to some studies, the meaning of a message is conveyed 10% verbally and 90% non-verbally!

For this reason, I recommend using short sentences and sticking to the essentials in the answers. In order to ensure that you are well understood and to facilitate the exchange, articulate more clearly than usual (without exaggerating too much either).

Not seeing your caller can also make the telephone conversation more difficult. Does he or she find you interesting? Has he or she started a game of computer patience while listening to you? Short interventions will allow you to frequently check where the recruiter is and avoid being interrupted.

During a telephone interview, fatigue is felt much more quickly. Furthermore, while in a face-to-face interview you are assured of a certain amount of time, a telephone interview can last an hour just as long as it can last five minutes.

Just follow the interviewer’s interview plan, as in some cases the interview may be well-structured and the interviewer may want to ask a series of specific questions. It is also possible that at some point the recruiter may want to know your English language skills and speak to you in English.

In other cases, on the other hand, the interview can be like a simple telephone conversation where you talk a little bit about anything and everything. The recruiter simply wants to see if there is a connection between you and how you express yourself.

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This is not the time to get into long impromptu speeches; always leave it to the recruiter to set the tone for the interview. However, take the opportunity to check some information that you feel is crucial and that could lead you to refuse the job, as it is not only the recruiter who is screening.

In conclusion, there is no specific way to prepare for a telephone interview, other than to apply the same principles as for any interview. Try to remain natural and respond appropriately, hoping that what you come up with will please the person on the other end of the phone.

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