Telephone interview: Tips and tricks on how to succeed

Telephone interview: Tips and tricks on how to succeed

Although in this day and age the smartphone is an integral part of the lives of many, fewer and fewer people like to make phone calls. Instead, they increasingly rely on e-mails and chats, although a short call can save both companies and candidates a lot of time and money, especially in the application process. It is not without reason that the telephone interview is now one of the most popular selection procedures and ranks just behind the personal interview.

Why conduct a telephone interview?

After submitting the application documents and reviewing them, a telephone interview is increasingly the next step. The telephone interview serves as the first opportunity to get to know each other. This allows the company to get a first impression of the applicants and to clarify important questions quickly and easily. Especially for positions for which many candidates are applying, a better pre-selection can be made in this way. This facilitates the application process. If it becomes clear during the telephone interview that the ideas of the company and candidates are too far apart, there is no need to travel to a personal interview. Especially at a time when jobs can be further away, this approach saves a lot of time and money.

Before the telephone interview

In a telephone interview, companies have a choice: the most common option is to inform the candidates in advance by e-mail that they have been shortlisted on the basis of their promising application documents and then either suggest an appointment themselves or, conversely, ask them to select an appointment. Alternatively, a spontaneous interview is also conceivable, in which the candidates are called without informing them in advance. However, there is a very high probability of catching the candidates at an inopportune moment, which can affect the quality of the conversation, e.g. due to loud background noise or poor reception.

It is also important to determine the interviewer in advance. Finally, the company also leaves an impression on applicants during the first interview. The interviewee should be able to answer the applicant’s questions reliably.

In addition, a decision must be made as to whether the interview should be conducted by telephone or as a video call. Both options have advantages: while both sides can see each other during the video interview, the normal telephone call offers more flexibility, as no stable internet connection is required, for example.

The structure of the telephone interview

The duration of a telephone interview cannot be determined across the board, as it can vary depending on the company, the position to be filled and the candidate. In principle, at least half an hour should be allowed for the interview to ensure that the most important points and questions can be clarified without haste.

The telephone interview is essentially divided into four parts:

1. entry

2. self-introduction of the candidate

3. presentation of job and company

4. clarification of important key data

As in a normal job interview, the interviewer should not open the door, but instead start with a little small talk, introduce themselves in a few sentences and give an overview of the interview process.

After that, the interviewee should have their say and be given the opportunity to introduce themselves. She should report on her background and her previous experiences, ideas and wishes. She should also explain why she is interested in the position and the company. Even if the main part of the conversation should be with the applicant, it is up to the interviewer to steer the conversation by asking various questions. Conceivable here would be, for example:

– Please tell me about your last job.
– What kind of company was that?
– What were your tasks?

Ideally, the company not only finds the right person for the vacant position during the application process, but also manages to win them over. For this, it is important that the company also makes a good first impression and introduces itself accordingly. Important aspects here are:

– Brief presentation of the company
– Scope of duties and responsibilities of the position
– Outlook for the (realistic) future of the position
– Benefits, team, working hours

The interviewer should always take care to present the most important information completely and concisely.

Finally, the most important key data should be clarified:

– Availability/possible start date
– Outlook for the further process
– Salary requirements

What are the no-gos?

In the context of the telephone interview, there are some no-gos for both the interviewee and the interviewer:

1. no or insufficient preparation for the telephone interview

A popular phone interview question is, “Why did you choose our company?” If this question cannot be answered at all or only after long hesitation, this does not leave a good impression. It is important for the interviewer to review the candidate’s CV in advance and note down any questions.

2. interrupt the person you are talking to

Rules of conversation also apply on the phone. This includes listening attentively and letting the other person finish. This facilitates the flow of conversation considerably and allows a good conversation to develop between both parties.

3. not knowing your own documents

Although each person should know their own CV best, it is important to review the key points beforehand. What previous stations are relevant to the position I am interested in? What skills have been acquired that might now be of interest? The same can be applied to the company: the interviewer should know the key facts about their company in order to be able to authentically present what the applicant can expect and what values the company embodies.

4. rudeness

Of course, it can happen that the interlocutors do not like each other right away. Nevertheless, composure should always be maintained and an exchange should take place at eye level.

Tips and tricks

Finally, a few tips and tricks on how to make the telephone interview a success:

1. speak at a reasonable volume.
2. speak neither too quickly nor too slowly.
3. sitting upright while talking on the phone strengthens the voice and positively influences breathing.
4. let the other person finish.
5. make sure that you conduct the interview in a quiet environment and that you are available or have reception.
6. take your time to prepare for the interview. Have a notepad and pen ready, as well as your most important documents.
7. do not have the conversation between the door and the door or, for example, directly after sport, but preferably sitting at your desk (at home).

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