Busy work schedules and an influx of applicants mean that employers are increasingly turning to phone interviews as a way of identifying the very best candidates – even within Ireland. If you apply for a job from abroad and the hiring manager likes your CV, it’s likely you will be called to a phone interview before advancing to a face-to-face meeting. Some candidates make the mistake of treating phone interviews casually and not preparing for them in the same way they would a sit-down meeting. However, when it comes to international recruitment, phone interviews are perhaps one of the most difficult hurdles you need to overcome.
It can be hard to make a good first impression on someone you can’t see – how you sell yourself is completely dependent on what you say. Here are a few things to bear in mind to help you make it to the next stage.
- Inform your interviewer that you are overseas and pass on both your mobile and a suitable landline number. They may want to use WhatsApp or Viber as these allow you to make international calls free of charge.
- Make sure you have a quiet space for the interview where you will be free from distractions. That might mean booking yourself into a private room if you’re travelling.
- Charge your phone and make sure you have full coverage. It’s worth calling someone in Ireland a few hours beforehand to make sure the connection is good.
- Confirm the time of your phone interview in advance and ensure you take any time differences into consideration.
- Print off copies of the job description, your CV and cover letter before the call. Having these at hand will help you to answer questions with more ease. You can even make notes to guide you through your answers.
- Smile while you’re on the phone. Your performance is reliant on how you speak and smiling will help you sound more upbeat and engaged.
- Research the company extensively and prepare answers to tricky interview questions.
- Avoid using colloquialisms or being too casual. Just because you are on the phone doesn’t mean the interviewer isn’t assessing you as they would in a more formal meeting.
- Ask your interviewer questions about daily tasks, career progression, training opportunity and workplace culture – anything that demonstrates a genuine interest in the company.
Companies hiring at all levels are increasingly conducting video interviews to screen first-round candidates. This is a much quicker and cost-efficient method than scheduling face-to-face interviews, and means they can assess top talent around the globe. The prospect of a video interview can seem a little intimidating at first but, with a little preparation, there’s no reason why you can’t make it through to round two.
- Keep your Skype username and profile photo professional. Even if you look great, don’t use a photo of you on the beach on a night out – you don’t want to give the interviewer any reason to misjudge you.
- Try to find a laptop, computer or iPhone to use for your interview, if you do not have one. Using Skype or FaceTime on your phone poses more potential issues – it’s harder to communicate with your interviewer on a smaller screen and you may be interrupted by app alerts.
- Have a mock interview with a friend beforehand and get feedback about your body language and language use. Seeing yourself on camera will make you feel more comfortable when it’s time for the real thing.
- Don’t treat the interview as though you’re just Skyping friends back home. Dress appropriately, from head to toe, and ensure there is nothing distracting in the background.
- Test your connection before the interview, as well as your webcam and microphone to rule out any potential issues.
- Make eye contact by looking into the camera, and not at the picture screen of yourself. This will help you appear confident, trustworthy and engaged. You should also sit up straight and smile throughout the interview.
- If you’re in a sunny country, make sure you can see your screen properly and aren’t squinting at the camera. Find a room with blinds to eliminate the problem.
- After your interview, send a follow-up email to your interviewer, thanking them for the opportunity and expressing your interest in the role.