Phone Interviews - How to Make the Right Impression Without the Face-to-Face Element

By Leslie Walters - Recruitment Director specialising in Accountancy Recruitment

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In today’s time poor commercial world, a phone interview can sometimes be the first direct interaction you have with a prospective employer or recruiter, so here’s some pointers on how to make the most of these interview opportunities.

The main thing to remember when you have a phone interview is to treat it in the same way that you would a face-to-face interview. It may not feel as formal but it’s every bit as important so prepare as though it were one – research the company, become familiar with the role they are recruiting for and prepare a couple of questions to ask your interviewer at the end of the interview.

Phone interviews are often used as an initial, screening part of the interview process, usually to cut down the numbers if a longish shortlist of possible candidates has been collated. Alternatively, if the company headquarters is not local to you, or even if the interviewer is not local to the location where the role will be based, you may only interview over the phone (or on Skype) so this maybe your only chance to sell yourself.

Phone interviews should still have some format and will usually consist of a short set of questions, usually competency and/or strengths based, which the interviewer will ask all candidates. Competency based questions, the industry norm for some time now, mean you will be expected to provide an example of how you performed in certain situations, for example, how you worked effectively in a team to achieve the desired business outcome.

However, more and more companies, such as Deloitte and Barclays, are now adopting a strengths-based approach. This style interview is a way of finding out what you like doing, whereas competency ones focus on what you can do.  The newer, strengths-based interview is looking to find out what kind of activities engage and inspire you - the reason being that when you are using your strengths, you perform your best and rapidly learn new information.

Here are some tips to make the most of phone interviews:

Good luck!


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