Telephone interviews!

The next few week’s blog posts will be all about interviews! We will include tips from the Red Door team on telephone and face to face interviews, calming interview nerves and how to answer questions you haven’t prepared for.

This week, we will focus on the telephone interview. Most companies will use a telephone interview as a screening to see if you could potentially be a good fit for their team, so it’s important to ace it!

Our top tips

  • Plan ahead and research — look at the company website and Google supporting information about who they are, check every aspect of the website, including their social media accounts and check LinkedIn to see if the interviewers are on the site

  • Have some notes that you have made from your research to refer to, including questions you may want to ask at the end

  • Have your CV to hand — interviewers will usually run through your experience during the interview and you don’t want to make any mistakes

  • Have water at the ready — prevent that dry mouth!

  • Find a quiet place with no distractions and good signal — no background noise

  • Control your breathing and speak slowly

  • Don’t talk too much or go round the houses — be straight to the point but give enough to the interviewer

  • Be friendly, personable and smile — this may sound silly for a telephone interview but smiling will improve your mood and tone of voice!

  • Dress smart — it will make you feel more professional than if you were sat in your pyjamas

Some typical telephone interview questions you may be asked

  • Why do you want to work in this industry?

  • Why do you want this role?

  • Why do you want to work at this company in particular?

  • What is your greatest achievement?

  • Tell me about a challenge you have faced and how you solved it

  • Where do you see your career heading in the next five years?

  • Why should we hire you?

  • What do you do in your personal time?

STAR Technique

You may be asked some competency-based interview questions, when it comes to answering these try to use the STAR technique. This is where you lay out the situation you were facing, the task you had to do, the action you took and what the result was. It’s always good to have some examples in your notes that you can refer to, you will need to think about your top skills and abilities and how these can meet your potential employer’s needs.

Situation: Start by outlining the situation you were in.

Task: Talk about the task at hand. What was required of you?

Action: What did you do? What action/s did you take and why?

Result: Summarise the results of your actions.

Telephone interview mistakes to avoid

  • Being unprepared — as mentioned previously, have all your notes clearly laid out in front of you in an easy to read format

  • Interrupting your interviewer — you might be eager to get your point across or talk about your experience, but interrupting the interviewer is awkward and rude — avoid at all costs!

  • Getting distracted — try not to multi task when on the phone, your interviewer will be able to hear if you are out walking the dog or washing your dishes!

  • Skipping the Q&A — always ask at least one question at the end

  • Being late — if you are calling them, be sure to be bang on time!

  • Mumbling and using filler words ‘um’, ‘uh’ and ‘like’ are a pet hate! Instead just pause to think about what you are going to say next

  • Short answers and waffling — elaborate on your answers when appropriate but don’t give them your life story!

  • Becoming too comfortable — avoid using slang and colourful language, even if you do feel at ease with your interviewer

We send out tips and ask all candidates to phone us before an interview to run through preparation, this is really important as you can use it as a test run and it can help with your pre-interview nerves. Look out for our next post on face to face interviews

You’ve got this!

Heather and Olivia x

Heather Mustard