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  1. Telephone Interview Questions; Part Two

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    Did you miss part one of this blog last week? You can read it here.

    A telephone interview is a pre-scheduled job interview. Popular with recruitment agencies and employers alike; they save time and help to keep interview costs down. However, telephone interviews do have their challenges. In most cases, you will be answering questions under a strict time limit and this can increase nerves. Not being able to see the interviewer also presents its own difficulties, as you’re unable to make a connection.

    Tips for telephone interviews

    Pick a suitable location – Avoid noisy, public spaces and instead choose a private, quiet location such as your home. If you live with family or friends, warn them in advance of the call that you need some peace. Unless your mobile is charged and receiving full reception, use a landline. Turn electronic devises to silent to avoid distraction.

    Dress to impress – You shouldn’t treat telephone interviews any differently than face-to-face interviews. Dressing for the part helps to put you in a professional frame of mind and boosts confidence.

    Smile – Smile to ensure that the interviewer hears the enthusiasm in your voice from the start. To covey energy and confidence, think about taking the call standing up.

    Refer to your notes – Being able to have application documents and your notes to hand is one of the main advantages of a telephone interview, but don’t rely on them too much. Use concise bullet points as prompts, rather than pages of possible answers.

    Have a glass of water ready – Interview nerves and lots of talking can lead to a dry mouth, so have a glass of water – the same as in a face-to-face interview.

    Ask for clarification – If you miss a particular question, do not try to second guess what it might have been. Apologise and politely ask the interview if they can repeat it.

    Take notes – If you’re able to multitask, write down any useful information provided by the employer and the questions you’re asked during the interview. These notes could be a valuable resource if you’re invited for a second interview.

    Following up an interview

    Just like in face-to-face interviews, employers expect you to have questions of your own. These could be about the role or the company. Stay away from questions about salary, holiday entitlement or start dates. It’s also perfectly acceptable, if the interviewer hasn’t mentioned it previously, to enquire about the next stage of the process and when you should expect to hear from them.

    If you don’t hear back within a week, give them a call or send a short email to follow up. Reiterate your interest in the role and thank them again for their time. If you’ve been unsuccessful on this occasion, use this as a chance to ask for feedback on your performance so you can use the lessons learned in future applications.

  2. Telephone Interview Questions; Part One

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    A telephone interview is a pre-scheduled job interview. Popular with recruitment agencies and employers alike; they save time and help to keep interview costs down. However, telephone interviews do have their challenges. In most cases, you will be answering questions under a strict time limit and this can increase nerves. Not being able to see the interviewer also presents its own difficulties, as you’re unable to make a connection.

    How to prepare

    Just like in any other interview scenario, you need to research the industry, organisation and job role. Visit the company website, competitor sites and read relevant news articles. Do this in advance, so you are well prepared. You can also plan your responses to frequently asked questions by preparing a list of examples of when and how you’ve demonstrated each skill or quality listed in the person specification.

    A confident phone manner doesn’t come naturally to all and some candidates may feel uncomfortable talking over the phone. To increase your confidence when talking over the phone, ask family or friends to call you for a mock interview. Use your research and planned responses to answer their questions and treat this practise as the real thing.

    Telephone interview questions

    When answering the call, you need to be professional and positive. If you’ve pre-arranged an interview time, make sure you are ready when the phone rings. Answer with ‘Good morning/good afternoon, (your name) speaking and maintain this professional tone throughout the interview.

    When answering questions. be aware of the pace of your speech. Time is limited but don’t rush or mumble, despite your nerves. Your responses need to demonstrate your knowledge of, and enthusiasm for the role.

    One of the main challenges to telephone interviews is that without visual clues from the interviewer, it can be hard to gauge how you are doing. In a face-to-face interview, you’re able to take direction from the employer’s body language and visual responses, but this is not possible over the phone. When you’re being interviewed in person, you are also able to smile and show the interviewer that you’re engaged. Make sure you smile during your telephone interview; it really does come across!

    Make sure you read Part Two next week!

  3. Questions You Can Ask at a Job Interview

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    Having a list of questions to ask a job interview makes you look interested, enthusiastic and engaged; all the qualities that an employer will be looking for. Not having any questions to ask will give the possible impression of a lack of interest in the role.

    Our advice? Try to come up with at least four questions. By being prepared, if one or two of them are answered during the interview, you have more questions in place. Save questions about salary, holiday allowance and working hours for when you have been offered the job! Also, while it is okay to ask your interviewer to clarify certain points, avoid asking about anything that has previously been covered; you do not want them to think that you haven’t been paying attention.

    Here are some good questions you can ask at your next job interview:

    Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of the role?

    Asking this question enables you to learn as much about the role as possible. The interviewer’s response will provide insight into what specific skills and experience are needed and it will also help you decide if the role is right for you. The answer should give you an idea of what the employer’s expectations are, so if you’re offered the job, you will be fully prepared.

    How could I impress you in the first few months?

    This is a good question to ask at the end of a job interview, as it shows potential employers that you are keen to make a positive contribution to the organisation. Pay close attention to the recruiter’s response, as it will tell you how they want you to perform and will highlight particular areas of the job you should be focusing on during the first few weeks of employment.

    Are there opportunities to progress within the company?

    Asking about development opportunities demonstrates to the interviewer that you are serious about your career and committed to a future with the organisation. Asking this question will help you to assess whether a long-term career with the company is a possibility.

    Where do you see the company in the next five years?

    The response you receive will give you an insight into the company’s progression plans and its place in the market, while giving you a general idea about job security. Asking about the future of the company shows a real interest in the organisation and reiterates your commitment to the job role.

    Can you describe the working culture of the organisation?

    Asking this question is a great way to assess the working environment of the company and it gives you the opportunity to discover whether you will fit in. Understanding the organisations priorities is essential; whether it be employee happiness, of any benefits on offer and what the work-life balance is like.

    What do you enjoy about your job?

    This question will allow you to see the passion of your interviewer. It requires a personal response and you could learn a lot from their answer. You will get an insider’s view of the company culture and working environment, discover how your interviewer got their start in the business and how they progressed.

    Does the organisation offer regular performance appraisals?

    This is a great question! It not only shows your interviewer that you are keen to develop, but also that you take your development seriously and would like to have regular opportunities to discuss your future within the organisation.