FAC3ing the Phone Interview
Updated: Jan 25
You’ve aced the application with an excellent CV from us, and now it’s time to ace the phone interview. So far, the employer likes what they see – but will they like what they hear?
Below, we’ve pulled together some FAQs and top tips to ensure that you pass your phone interview with flying colours.
How long is a phone interview?
Telephone interviews can be as short as 15 minutes and take anywhere up to an hour.
It really depends on the level of the position that you are applying for (entry level, senior management, director), and how much the employer wants to cover during the call.
Top tip #1 – try and find out a rough estimate for the length of the call, before it takes place.
What is the purpose of a telephone interview?
Interviews over the phone are a way for employers to screen potential candidates and ensure your resume sticks to the facts.
After all, when we submit our CV, we’ve had plenty of time to mull over it.
However, over the phone you have much less time to think about what you want to say, and how you should say it.
This isn’t to say that the employer is trying to catch you out here – they simply want to see how far the experience you’ve noted on paper aligns with what you actually have to say about your career to date.
Tip #2 – plan some things to say around some interview questions which you might be asked.
These need to be relevant not only to the job and its field, but typical questions asked of potential candidates for any role.
Remember, the employer will be fact checking your CV whilst they are speaking to you, so it’s good to have some anecdotal evidence to back up anything you’ve mentioned on your resume.
How do you prepare for a phone interview?
This is arguably the biggest hurdle to plan for when you’ve been invited for an interview.
Preparation for any interview is key, so why should it be any different for a telephone interview?
When it comes to speaking on the phone, although there’s no visible body language to be seen by your recruiter, your voice can give plenty away about your persona, attitude, and ultimately your employability.
FAC3 the facts
Top tip #3 – Don’t rush!
Many people, when anxious, can begin to speak very quickly.
Rushing through what we have to say can often lead to inefficient fillers or ‘non-words’ in our speak (such as ‘er’, ‘like’, ‘kind of’).
Not only is this a dead giveaway for bad preparation when speaking to an employer, but rushing through what you have to say means that detailing your experience is likely to be unclear, and too brief for the interviewer to accurately take note of.
Ensure you speak at a natural, steady pace and void using too many fillers.
Tip #4 – be mindful of your intonation
Intonation is something which happens naturally when we speak, and it can very much be personalised and vary from person to person.
When we’re unsure of ourselves, our intonation can turn to ‘up-talk’ where our intonation rises at the end of a sentence – almost as if we’re asking a question rather than making a statement.
To avoid this, take note of our tip #2 above, and ensure you have statements memorised and aren’t reading notes.
It will be very easy for an employer to tell if what you’re saying is flowing naturally or feels too structured.
Practice some questions with friends and family to ensure you sound as natural as possible when putting across your points.
Tip #5 – Enunciate
In our day-to-day lives, we all speak colloquially – but this isn’t appropriate for a phone interview.
Make sure you avoid using abbreviations and slang words and pronounce words phonetically.
Proper enunciation avoids slurring and makes for clear, concise answers – which are great!
Tip #6 – Dress smart, think smart
Even though your interviewer won’t see you during the call, we still recommend you dress for the occasion.
Dressing formally will help you to feel much more professional, and you’ll carry out the interview confidently as a result. And confidence needs a big boost in these situations!
Which leads us to out next tip…
Tip #7 - shape that FAC3!
Smiling over the phone naturally enhances your mood, and makes you sound more enthusiastic for the role.
Make sure you put on your best FAC3 when liaising with your employer.