Telephonic interviews; An introduction
It has been nearly one and a half-century since the telephone, as we know it today, made its first public appearance. Since then the telephone has continued to encroach in every sphere of human life.
Telephone interviews are not a recent phenomenon but the recent political and social changes have brought them into the spotlight. Visa issues, transportation problems, and distant job vacancies have made telephonic interviews an important part of the hiring process in many places.
Interviews vary in nature from educational to job but it is usually the job interviews that are conducted over the phone. The advent of readily available video conferencing services has bumped the telephonic interviews up a notch.
Telephonic interviews are two-edged swords. There are certain advantages but there are some drawbacks as well. A lot of people rely on their physical charisma and charm to win hearts and it is sometimes difficult for them to exert the same influence over the phone.
If this is not your strong suit, telephonic conversations can be a good idea for you. Also, If you have a good voice and you can sound confident, telephonic interviews give you an edge.
Preparing for the interview
Telephonic interviews exonerate you from the typical stress of what to wear. You can rock the interview, even in your pajamas and tank-tops as you casually sit on your couch!
Research shows that dress and attire is the most important un-related thing which is noticed by an interviewer (Frosythe 1990)
However, there are certainly other things you need to take care of and it is a good idea to get your supplies available beforehand.
1. Add a reminder
This might not click right away but experiences with telephonic interviews show that people are more likely to forget the interview when they are not obliged to be physically present at the workplace. Make sure you add a reminder and if that does not jog you up, ask a friend or family member to remind you.
2. Double-check your communication facilities
This is a no-brainer. Always ensure that your telephone or mobile phone has enough battery. You don’t want to be scurrying here and there for a charger in the middle of the interview. Additionally, make sure that there is some sort of backup communication line open in case your primary device acts up.
3. Turn off call waiting
A lot of phones have the option where an incoming call puts the already placed phone call on hold. This is something that should not happen during the interview. Turn off call waiting so that your interview can sail smoothly.
Expected questions of Telephonic Interview
Interviewers generally tend to stick to generic and cliched questions at the beginning of the interview. As the interview progresses, the interviewers move on to more specific questions.
Make sure you let the interviewer ask a question first and then try navigating the interview in the direction you are most comfortable in. If you are uncomfortable about some aspect, make sure you do not mention it in your answers because interviewers tend to lead on the interview from where the candidates leave it.
Here are some of the expected questions and you should have a rough idea as to how you are going to answer these.
- Introduce yourself generally.
- Describe yourself as a worker specifically?
- What additional value will you be bringing into the workplace?
- Why do you find yourself more employable than the other candidates?
- What previous experiences do you have and how will they propel you forward?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
And if the interviews go well.
- When will you be available for an in-person interview?
- What are your salary expectations?
(Blackman, 2002) shows that two important things that positively affect telephonic interviews are responses to the follow-up questions and voice expression. If these are your strong suits, you can nail telephonic interview.
Tips for telephonic interviews
We have already explained how you should prepare for an interview and what interview questions you can expect. The real showdown begins when you are giving the interview and in the heat of the moment, even well-prepared candidates flatter and fail to make their mark.
However, we have some tips which you can use to ace any remote interview.
1. Pick the spot for the interview very carefully
Candidates tend to underestimate the importance of finding a suitable spot before the interview begins. Remember, if there are pots clanking, music roaring, kids wailing, and TV playing in the background, you might as well forget any prospects of getting the job. Interviewers will take a much positive approach towards you if they can hear you clearly and without any background noise or interruption.
2. Speak clearly
The main difference between a face-to-face interview and a telephonic interview is that you have to rely solely on your voice to make an impression on the person who is evaluating you. Make sure you have a clear and uninterrupted phone connection and while speaking, clearly pronounce the words.
A lot of people speed through the interviews and it appears as if they are stumbling upon words. Speak slowly but clearly. If you have a sore throat or hoarse voice, try throat lozenges and gargling with warm water.
3. Keep notes and documents prepared
This is the point where a slight cleverness can give you an edge and it is something which you can not do in face-to-face interviews. Prepare concise notes of different points you will be talking about. This includes, but is not limited to, answers to possible questions, any specific queries you have about the job, and other things.
Also, keep your documents ready in case there is some specific detail that you might not be able to recall over the top of your head. Additionally, feel free to keep a phone or a laptop nearby to have ready access to the internet.
You can choose to be witty or serious, depending upon the direction and mood of the interview. If you feel that the environment is a bit tense, you can use some decent humor to lighten up the mood.
But make sure that there is a room for you to do so. Too much humor can portray you non-serious while being too serious can paint you dry in the eyes of the interviewer.
5. Be a good listener
Make sure you hear out the interviewer and do not interrupt him. It counts a lot in telephonic interviews.
6. Reserve your questions for the end
Wait for the interviewer to finish his part before you assume his role. It is fine if you have some queries but postpone them to the later part of the interview and feel free to ask anything relevant.
7. End positively
Try to end on a positive note and bid your interviewer a goodbye in a professional manner.
8. Practice with mock-interviews
If you are nervous, inexperienced, or both, try practicing with a friend beforehand. This is likely to get you prepared in a better way for the real interview.
Remote interviews need you to be prepared with a different skill set as compared to in-person interviews. Make sure you exploit the pros of telephonic interviews to your advantage. Usually, the telephonic interviews are used for short-listing and they are followed by face-to-face interviews. Make sure you leave a good impression in your telephonic interview.
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