Tips on telephone interviews to make you stand out from the crowd

Welcome to Career Academy. At The Nottingham, we believe in driving young people’s aspiration for the future. Moving from education to employment is an exciting journey but one that can require a lot of skills to reach your full potential. 

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Lots of employers nowadays make a telephone or video call interview part of their recruitment process. You will still need to prepare for this in the same way as a traditional interview. Remember to always find out what sort of interview it is and what to expect. Exploring your CV, a little about you and your aspirations and competency-based questions are all fairly typical in the first stage of recruitment. However, even if it is just an informal chat it is still important to be prepared. 

Here are some top tips on telephone interviews to make you stand out from the crowd.

1. Look over your application and CV

Just like a normal face-to-face interview, you should know your CV or application inside out. Be prepared to elaborate or explain your experience and why you are suitable for the role. It is also worth thinking about your work and volunteering experience and make a note of your transferable skills, your achievements and things you have learned along the way. Also consider why you want the role – what is appealing, what makes you a good candidate and what your career aspirations are. They may ask you where you see yourself in 5 or 10 years too so it’s best to know where the role could take you and whether that’s appealing to you.

Have a copy of your CV to hand and don’t be afraid of this being visible on a video call, it just shows you are prepared. 

2. Test out the tech

It can be useful to test out your technology beforehand so you are familiar with it and also have a contact telephone number or email address to hand in case you have any problems.. For a video interview, sitting at a desk or dining table is ideal as it should mean you are sitting up straight, your face and upper-body is clearly visible and the sound is clear when you speak. You may also want to check the background to make sure there isn’t glare from any windows behind you. . Even if it is just a telephone call, sitting comfortably and upright will help you sound the best you can. 

If you are on a laptop reading notes, ensure you close any apps or browser tabs you do not need - these can be distracting but also may use unnecessary internet connection which can affect the quality of your call, particularly if it is video. 

Something to hold your device or securing it on a flat surface is better than holding it in your hands. The audio and video quality will be better and sound more professional. 

3. Treat it like a face to face interview

Ensure you find a quiet spot where you will not be disturbed and have a drink, notepad and pen to hand. For a video interview, it is important that you are dressed appropriately – not only does it give a good impression but it will make a difference to your confidence. 

Feel free to use hand gestures and be aware of your body language, even if it is only a telephone call it will make a difference to the way your voice is projected and how you come across the other end. A confident telephone manner is a skill in itself. Don’t be afraid of having a few practice runs with friends and family to get a feel for how to speak clearly and articulately. 

If it is a telephone interview, avoid the temptation to be browsing the internet or doing anything else apart from speaking. If you are distracted, it will come across in your voice and the interviewer may be able to hear the keyboard if you are using it. 

There are three main things to focus on when it comes to first interviews involving the phone or a video call. Good luck!

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