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Telephone Interviews

Telephone Interviews

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Published by hareeshdoctus

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Published by: hareeshdoctus on Apr 21, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Phone interviews are a screening process generally used when a company isconsidering several candidates, any one of whom will need to be relocated if hired.The phone interview tells them who is worth their money to fly in for a face toface – and who isn’t. Thinking it’s “just a phone interview” is tantamount to wasting both your time andthe interviewer’s. A phone interview isn’t any less important than a first round, in-person interview, and it’s a whole lot tougher. They’re tougher because they feel more casual (it’s just the phone, and you’re in afamiliar environment) and there are no visual cues.There’s no body language to read,no eye contact to make, no smile to reassure you.All you have is the other person’svoice and intonation.So preparation, always essential prior to any interview, is theone thing you have to fall back on to eliminate the discomfort of not being able tosee the person with whom you are speaking. You need your resume in front of you, as well as your list of questions to ask.Youwant a pen and paper so that you can take notes.You need your list of accomplishments, what you’re looking for in your next job, why you’re interested,and how all that relates to the company with which you’re interviewing, and youneed to have done research on the company – all principles I emphasize repeatedly. There’s one aspect of preparation applicable to a phone interview that isn’tnecessary for an in-person interview:tape record yourself speaking.Very few peopletalk without using fillers - those “ers” and “ums” and “uhs” that we say so frequentlywe cease to become aware that they’re even part of our speech. When you play thetape back and count them, you’ll probably wince.I’m not saying you have to eliminatethem, just be aware of your tendency to throw them in helter skelter.That alone islikely to reduce the number.So if you need time to think, simply say, “Let me take a minute to think about that.”Itacknowledges that you heard the question and prevents you from creating thatawkward dead air when a few seconds pause can seem like minutes.Some peoplespeak slowly and pause between sentences.Resist the inclination to jump in and fillthe silence.Your first clue that you need to wait a beat or two is when you findyourself apologizing the second time for having interrupted your interviewer.Awareness of the subtleties will give you an edge mentally, which impacts theoutcome of the call.Smile. Not only is it a great way to relax, but it changes your voice and makes yousound friendlier, more enthusiastic.Focus completely on the conversation.You need to listen to what is being said so thatyou can formulate your responses in an intelligent, professional manner.Make sure you’re not disturbed.If your daughter comes in wanting to know where youput her purple Barney doll, it will shake your concentration considerably Turn off call waiting, the television, your stereo – eliminate any distractions
And do I need to advise you not to eat, chew gum or smoke? The first five to ten minutes of a phone interview can often make or break you.So notonly are preparation and focus necessary, but if a prospective employer’s phone callcatches you by surprise, reschedule it.You’ll be more prepared and less rattled.Next week I’ll talk about the end of the phone interview: handling that awfulcompensation question, how to give it a nice, professional wrap up, and what to do if you’re undecided or need more information when the phone interview has beenended.
Who uses telephone interviews?
 They are especially common for sales-related jobs, particularly –surprise! – telesales, where verbal communication skills areparamount. But they are increasingly used by other employers as apreliminary screening for all kinds of jobs. You may also expect atelephone interview if you are applying for jobs abroad – in which casecalls may come in at all hours of the day or night!Companies that have used these interviews include Exxon mobil, TotalFinaElf Nigeria, Sainsbury's, The Caudwell Group, Transco, Corus,BT, Standard Life, HBOS and many law firms. They are often arrangedvia a recruitment consultant.
What are the advantages of telephoneinterviewing?
 There are a number of advantages of conducting employment interviews bytelephone: Telephone interviews are simpler to arrange, and the process itself takesmuch less time than face-to-face interview sessions.When using this method as an initial screening process, the cost of interviewing a large number of candidates is much lower than if they wereinterviewed in person. Telephone interviewing also cuts costs when candidates live far away, sincemost businesses reimburse interviewee travel expenses. Using the telephoneto screen out unsuitable candidates can greatly reduce these costs. This format is an ideal way to assess a candidate's telephone manner. This isparticularly helpful if the job requires telephone communication skills or isheavily customer-service based.
For automated interviews, the list of questions can be completelystandardized. This facilitates more objective decisions based entirely on corecriteria, removing personal perceptions or biases from the process.
Are there any disadvantages to telephoneinterviewing?
Although telephone interviews can be very useful, there are limitations. These include:Candidates may be unfamiliar with the format or uncomfortable using thetelephone, which could make them nervous and/or provoke uncharacteristicresponses.It is difficult to make a thorough assessment of a candidate over thetelephone. Non-verbal behavior or body language, both of which areimportant in forming an opinion of people, cannot be gauged over thetelephone. Telephone interview candidates learn less about your business than thosewho visit your premises and meet potential colleagues in person. The on-siteexperience helps candidates decide whether they wish to pursue theinterviewing process. It is important to remember that the recruitmentprocess works both ways, providing an opportunity for candidates to assessyour business as it allows you to assess them.
Advantages of telephone interviews
For the employer:
 They are time and cost-effective - most last about 20-25 minutes. They test your verbal communication skills and telephone technique. They test your ability to cope with the unexpected.
For you:
 You can refer (quickly!) to your application form, take notes – even hold on toyour teddy bear for moral support. You don't need to dress up or smarten up. You don't need to spend time travelling to interview or wonder if theemployer will pay your expenses.
Disadvantages of telephone interviews (for you)

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