Telephone interview tips

So, you’ve got yourself a telephone interview for that perfect science job. You can relax in the comfort of your own home whilst having a relaxed chat with your future employer and sail into that job.  Right?  Not necessarily!

 

A woman having a phone interview

 

Here are a few tips to help you pull off that telephone interview without a hitch:

 

Before the call

This may be your first interaction with the employer, so first impressions will count and you should bear this in mind. You should aim to find out as much as you can about the company before the interview, such as their values, what projects they are currently working on and what aspects of their work you can resonate with. You could use LinkedIn, the organisation’s website or business reports to gain information.

Note down any questions that you have about the role or the business, as this will ensure you stay on track and come away from the interview feeling informed and have a better idea about what to expect from your future employment there. To add to this, it is important to prepare brief answers to the standard questions you are likely to be asked during the call, such as:

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. What do you know about our company?
  3. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  4. Why do you want this job?

Before the call, find somewhere quiet with limited background noise where you can speak with the interviewer uninterrupted, and warn those who might interfere to stay away whilst the call is taking place.

 

During the Call

  • Whilst you are on the phone, it is a good idea to keep your CV in front of you so that you can refer back to your skills and past experiences quickly and thoroughly. Fumbling around for it or appearing to have not researched yourself fully will show the interviewer that you are unprepared.
  • You should also have a pen and paper handy for note taking throughout the call, as this will help you prepare for the face-to-face interview later down the line and show that you listened intently. You may also find out important things about the company that you may not otherwise have discovered through internet or social media searches, so this could be key to proving your interest!
  • Remember to remain polite and calm for the duration of the call, smiling will make you feel more relaxed and confident (the interviewer will be able to hear that in your voice). Standing up may also help you to feel more alert and energetic, so you should try to portray your interest as much as possible. The STAR interview technique will help you stay focused and limit the amount of waffling you do during your answers. Take a look at our graphic below on how to use this technique effectively, and why it’s important.
  • You should not be smoking, eating or drinking during the call as this can distract your focus and give a careless impression to the employer. You might find it useful to have a glass of water nearby if you struggle with speaking for long periods of time, but try keep sips to a minimum.
  • Using the interviewer’s name occasionally to show interest in the conversation is a good idea, but don’t overdo it. When the interviewer is speaking, listen carefully to ensure that you do not misunderstand what they are saying and end up answering the wrong thing. If you do mishear what is being said, or the phone line is poor, politely ask them to repeat the question.
  • At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer for their time and reiterate your interest in the opportunity with the company.

STAR interview technique infographic

 

 

You may also like to read:

How to answer: What are you looking for in a new job?

Ways to make a good first impression

14 signs your interview went well

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Research and Knowledge

‘A day in the life of’ Interviews

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