Top tips for the perfect telephonic interview

According to the We Are Social’s Digital report (2017), on average, South Africans spend a significantly longer portion of their day engaging through digital channels than with any other medium. This has filtered down into almost every area of the business landscape, including the candidate review and interview processes.

A company will engage in a telephonic interview for a number of reasons, from wanting to screen candidates before meeting them in person, or to accommodate candidates who aren’t able to make a face-to-face interview, etc. However, job seekers must not look at telephonic interviews as any less serious than face-to-face interviews.

“In fact, candidates will need to work harder to make a good first impression,” explains ManpowerGroup South Africa’s MD, Lyndy van den Barselaar. “They will not be able to rely on their appearance to assist them in getting their personality across, which means that candidates need to be well prepared for their telephonic interviews, to ensure they make the best possible impression on their potential employer.”

Lyndy van den Barselaar provides her top tips for making the most of a telephonic interview.

1. Be prepared

“Prepare for the interview the same way you would for a face-to-face interview. Make sure you have done sufficient research on the company and the position you are applying for, have some notes ready for possible questions you may be asked about your experience and your skills, and prepare notes on any questions you may have for your potential employer,” she says. “This will ensure you feel prepared and confident, and do not forget any important points.”

Lyndy suggests sitting at a desk or standing up during the interview, to ensure you feel comfortable and organised. “Less distraction the better. Surround yourself with the necessities, such as a copy of your CV, your list of talking points, and any other important documents for the purpose of the interview.”

2. Communicate effectively

Communication and voice control are essential to making sure you stand out amongst the other candidates. “You must remember that you are projecting an image of yourself using your voice, and you want to come across as confident, capable, and prepared,” says van den Barselaar. “Refrain from using slang, and stick to a professional and friendly tone. Make sure to listen carefully to what is said over the phone, to ensure you are able to give the best possible answers to any questions. Should there be any technical difficulties with the call, point these out immediately,” she says.

3. Think carefully about your location

“The beauty of the telephonic interview is that you are able to participate in the interview from any location where you have decent signal to your mobile phone, or where a landline is present. However, carefully consider your location,” suggests van den Barselaar. “Make sure it is free of distractions and loud background noises, and that you are able to effectively communicate and be relaxed.”

4. Set aside enough time

“While a telephonic interview may mean time saved in terms of travelling to and from the interview, you still need to set aside enough time between your other tasks for the day to ensure you are not rushing to get off the call or having to start another task while participating in the interview,” says van den Barselaar.

“If you are rushed or distracted, the interviewer will be able to pick this up, and this could hinder your chances of getting the job. Make sure you set aside adequate time for preparation and for the interview process, to ensure you are performing at your best on the day.”

5. Relax

“Most importantly, relax! Interviews can be nerve wracking, no matter what format they take. It is normal to feel nervous at the time of the interview – take a few deep breaths and try to remain as calm as possible. Remember that you have the skills and experience the interviewer is looking for, which is why you have been invited for an interview. I reiterate that candidates must make sure that they are well prepared as this will assist with calming the nerves. Just be yourself, try and do your best; and remember that you are already half way to a potentially new position,” concludes van den Barselaar.