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Career Center » Interview Techniques » Telephone Interviews


Interviews aren’t necessarily about perfecting your handshake or making sure you are well presented from a visual perspective. There are many instances in which employers use telephone interviews before giving candidates the chance to prove themselves face-to-face. For obvious logistical reasons, telephone interviews are a popular means of interviewing candidates who wish to work as expatriates.

The benefits of telephone interviews are the fact that they are cost-effective and they can be performed with minimal organization and in a quick manner. There are also a number of benefits for you as an applicant: no travel arrangements are required, there’s no need to iron your best shirt and there is no last minute panic when you can’t find the right office or a parking space!

Despite these obvious advantages, this does not mean that you can afford to put any less effort into telephone interviews than you do in face-to-face ones; making mistakes at this stage can still put an end to your progress. There are a number of steps you can take to increase your appeal to employers during telephone interviews, some are more apparent than others but they are all worth knowing.

»  Getting it Right

»  How to Close

Getting it Right
Telephone interviews typically allow you to discuss your skills and qualities in comfortable surroundings. However, receiving a call unexpectedly can be unnerving and is likely to mean you are unprepared. Your applications file can help in such circumstances, but if it is a bad time for you, simply explain this to the interviewer and politely ask if you can reschedule the conversation for a later date.

A smart appearance and good body language are unlikely to considerably affect your success during a telephone interview (other than possibly putting you in the right frame of mind. What you say and how you say it does however have a substantial influence on your success. Your tone of voice must convey confidence and enthusiasm and project a positive impression to the listener. Ensure that you speak slowly and enunciate clearly, taking a moment to collect your thoughts if necessary. Try not to talk in a monotone voice, consider language and cultural differences as well as the quality of international phone lines and the potential delay when speaking.

Ensure you are in a quiet place away from distractions whilst completing the interview. It is important to stay focused on your objectives. Your aim should be to gather the information you need to decide whether or not you wish to continue with your application and give the interviewer enough information to answer their questions and convince them that you are worth progressing.

How to Close
Finally think about how to close the interview effectively. Your final outcome could be agreeing on a time, date and place for a face-to-face meeting or some form of follow-up. Once you have done this, thank the interviewer for their time and then begin your preparation for the next stage. In some cases for expatriate positions a telephone interview alone could result in an offer. In such cases you must be prepared to either negotiate your salary or rate, or refer your interviewer back to your recruitment consultant, who will negotiate on your behalf.