How NOT to have a successful phone interview

For many businesses a telephone interview is an essential phase of the recruitment process. It can allow them to gauge the interest and skills of a candidate without each person having to take time out for a face-to-face interview, which typically will follow after.

As recruiters in the data and analytics world it is our job to make sure our candidates are fully prepped and ready for their phone interview. Some may think the same rules for a phone interview apply as they do for a face-to-face, however they are different and should be treated as such.

What should you NOT be doing during a phone interview?

Don’t take it seriously

A phone interview is just a serious and important as a face-to-face interview, if you don’t do well on the phone you are less likely to make it through to the next stage of interviews. A lot of the time, especially when working with a recruitment agency, this will be your first interaction with your potential employer. Treat it seriously and how you would with a face-to-face.

Don’t be personable

The person on the other side can’t see your body language or facial expressions but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay positive and be friendly. Nerves will always play a part but be yourself and act natural; your enthusiasm (or lack of) will come across over the phone.

Don’t think about the environment

Where you take the call is important; you don’t want to be on an interview while on hands free in the car or in a busy café. If you are somewhere with plenty of background noise it is easy for you or the interviewer to become distracted and can make it difficult for the interview to run smoothly. If you’re on your mobile, make sure you have a good signal and plenty of battery.

Be distracted

Distractions are a great way to make sure the phone interview doesn’t go well. If you were in a face-to-face interview you wouldn’t be in front of a computer screen or TV so don’t do this while on the phone. It is always good to research the company first but if you are doing this in the interview, the interviewer may hear clicking and assume you are distracted and not interested.

Don’t listen

You have to make sure you are listening properly when on a phone interview. Being able to hear and understand the questions properly is important. As mentioned above the interviewer can’t see your body language, and you can’t see theirs. Listening properly can allow you to also gauge their interest and personality and can help you decide if you want to continue with the recruitment process.

Don’t practice

This goes for both telephone and face-to-face interviews, if you don’t practice and prepare yourself properly it will come across. Think about the kind of questions you might be asked this can allow you to prepare and practice your answer. If you are a naturally fast talker you need to practice speaking slower, phone interviews typically last 20 – 30 minutes and you want to make sure it isn’t shorter.

Phone interviews are just, if not more, important than face-to-face interviews, with them being the first stage of the recruitment process it really is what stands between you and your future employer. If the phone interview doesn’t go well you are less likely to continue through the recruitment process. While telephone interviews are not as long as face-to-face it is essential you take it seriously and are prepared.

How do you prepare for a telephone interview? Do you think they are as important as face-to-face interviews?

KDR Recruitment is the home of the best Information Management and Data Analytics jobs. For more career advice check out the KDR blog or follow KDR on LinkedIn.

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