Phone interviews are a popular choice amongst employers in the planning industry and they are usually the first interaction before a face to face interview. Applications for job vacancies are increasing so phone interviews are an easier way to deal with demand before too much time is invested for meeting every candidate.
Candidates need to treat a phone interview like it is the real thing, this way you are always going to be prepared for a wide variety of questions. Everyone has their own style for interviewing candidates so you may be asked standard questions about your experience but there might be some more challenging questions as well.
A phone interview is not going to be preferred by everyone as some people find speaking over the phone uncomfortable and can come across differently to a meeting in person. There is also the reverse of this where their interview nerves show through more when candidates attend an interview in person.
Here are some tips to help you on your way to securing a face to face interview.
1 - Treat the Phone Call like an Interview
Once you have submitted your application there is a chance the employer could call you at any time without scheduling a phone call. It is worth preparing yourself for this eventuality whilst putting together your application for the planning job. However from experience this is rare and most people will be courteous and ask first if the timing is ok. Also have some questions prepared to ask the interviewer about the job, company, career development etc.
As an example, if it turns out you are in the pub and there are rowdy people and music in the back ground, let the call run to voice mail and call back as soon as you have a chance to speak in a more appropriate environment.
2 - Enthusiasm
As the interviewer will not be able to see your expressions and body language you will have to convey those emotions via your voice. So speak with confidence and energy and be conscious of your tone throughout the conversation.
3 - Elocution
When you are speaking try to remain positive and refrain from using phrases that start with I can’t or I don’t. If necessary practice answering questions so you eliminate the use of stutters or errs and umms.
4 - Mobile Signal
Be aware of the best location where the signal strength is best for a phone call so the line is not disrupted or cuts off; if possible use a land line rather than your mobile.
5 - Next Steps
This applies to any style interview, once it has finished make sure you both have a clear understanding of what the next step is. If the interviewer does not offer this information make sure you ask and this enforces your desire for the role.
A nice touch to the phone interview is to follow up the conversation with an email thanking them for their time.