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WRS Interview Advice: The Phone Interview

Posted by: Peter Jackson
The phone interview is rapidly becoming a universal vetting system for candidates who have beaten the first stage of looking for a new job: having a relevant and organised CV. But what should you expect during stage two, the phone interview?
Phone interviews are considered somewhere between formal and informal, and while you and your interviewer aren't sitting face-to-face at a table, they are nevertheless going to ask you professional questions to predict your compatibility with the role.
These questions are tailored to separate great candidates from good as they narrow their search pool, and are vital questions for job roles that require high levels of skill, experience, and competency, such as the technical Engineering roles we specialise in here at WRS. The phone interview will also be the first opportunity for the interviewer to see if the contents of your CV are valid (think of your references as the final stage of this verification).
Whether you are comfortable with professional phone conversations, or find speaking to somebody whom you cannot see daunting, here are some simple but invaluable tips that could lead to the recruiter or employer progressing your application from phone interview to a face-to-face or panel interview.
Preparation: Your CV has captured your interviewer's interest, now it's your responsibility to demonstrate why your skills and experiences would be valuable. Have your CV/resume in clear view. Experience is always desirable, so be able to cite the companies you have worked for, the dates you worked there, what your duties were, how you developed professionally and personally during the role, and don't forget to mention any results you achieved! Have a pen and paper available for any notes or information that might be given to you. 
Clarity and politeness in communication: Speak clearly and slowly, take your time. You don't want the employer to miss a detail because you were speaking too quickly or your voice was muffled. Try not to interrupt the interviewer and listen carefully. Furthermore, avoid eating, chewing gum, or do anything else that might prove distracting to your or the interviewer. Keep water to hand in case your mouth gets dry. Try smiling when you're on the phone, it will project a positive tone of voice, making you sound more enthusiastic. 
Eliminate distractions: Take the call in a quiet room where you won't be distracted, ensuring you will not be disturbed. If you have a landline with a good signal, arrange the call to that phone.
Seize the initiative: Before the interview, prepare a list of your strengths and your  weaknesses. Use your strengths to highlight your suitability for the role, and weaknesses as areas where you want to develop personally and professionally. You will likely be invited to ask any questions you have at the end of the interview.
Some useful, easy-to-remember questions for you to ask:
  • Could you tell me about the ethos and culture of the company?
  •  What are some of the vital skills and abilities necessary to succeed in this role?
  •  What are the company’s plans for the future?
  • I used to work for a company in this industry that handled staff objectives in a certain way, what should I expect to be different in this role?
Try to use the flow of the interview (the questions asked and the details you are given) to create your own questions too.
Following up: Once your questions have been answered and the interview is drawing to a close, thank the interviewer for their time. If you remain interested in the job then a follow-up email to the interviewer, briefly thanking them again and reinforcing your interest in the role, could help to demonstrate your enthusiasm!


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karim ahmed sadek, 12 May 2017
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