Let’s put this out there, phone interviews are tough. There are no visual cues and it’s harder to convey your body language. It’s all about your voice darling! As unpleasant as they are for candidates, companies on the other hand, seem to love doing them. For employers, doing the initial interview via phone, is their sure fire way of weeding through the people who really want the job and the ones who just applied for the sake of applying.

One thing is for sure when it comes to phone interviews. Preparation is paramount. So how do you prepare?

Relax and Assess Your Surroundings

Sometimes companies surprise you with a call and want to talk right then and there. This can be a wee bit daunting and I don’t blame you if your initial reaction is to throw the phone across the room and run in the opposite direction. The first thing you need to do is relax and look around. Where are you right now? Are you somewhere distracting? Are you out for coffee? Baby screaming in the background? If you can’t get to somewhere quiet in a small amount of time then there is no problem with asking them to rearrange. Employers will not see this as a negative as long as you assure them that you are interested in the position. Once you’ve arranged a time, make sure you stick to it.

Prepare A Cheat Sheet

Have you ever been lost for words in an interview? Counter this by having a few notes readily available that you can refer back to at moments like this. Your notes might be a current resume, answers to commonly asked questions, facts about the company and a calendar with available dates. Try not to rely too heavily on this as it may come across rehearsed.

Listen And Take Notes

Listening is crucial in an interview. However, nerves can take over and the next thing you know, you’ve forgotten the question they asked in the first place! To counteract this, write down the question in short form and read it back to them to ensure accuracy. It can also be valuable to write down key points the interviewer has said so you can refer back to it throughout the interview.

Be Enthusiastic and Speak Clearly

Since the interviewer can’t see you, you need to make sure you come across as enthusiastic in your voice. The best way that you can do this is to show those pearly whites and smile. Don’t forget about diction either. Saying “yes” instead of “yeah” and responding in an organised manner will be looked upon favourably.

Ask Questions At The End Of The Call

The interview is winding down and you’ve got a good feeling about it. Then the interviewer asks “Do you have any questions for me?” If you say no, you may have wasted a golden opportunity. Make sure you have a few questions written down in preparation for this. They may include “What is the next step going forward?” “What can I expect in the first few weeks of employment” and “Is there any reason why I would not be suitable for this job.”

You may not get to ask all these questions, but having a few will show that you are demonstrating thoughtfulness and maturity as a candidate.

At the end of the day, an interview is an interview. Research the company beforehand (whether it be BHP Billiton or One Key Resources), prepare your notes and smile. Best of luck!

Written by Keith Mitchell