In last week’s article, we discussed the pros and cons of phone job interviews. As stated, in this time of crisis, cost reduction is one of the key aspects of doing business in Sri Lanka.

Therefore, preliminary screenings of job candidates are an effective way to reduce costs, among the many advantages of telephone interviews. Phone interviews are an efficient and effective way to narrow down options and narrow down candidates for final selection.

Typically, in developed countries, phone interviews are scheduled well in advance, most often using automated interview scheduling via software applications. The intent of pre-scheduling, or assigning a date and time, is for candidates to adequately prepare for the interview.

In the Sri Lankan context, interviewers can email, text, or use any type of social media platform to schedule an interview. They can even use all three communication methods to make it more effective.

Preparation

Candidates, on the other hand, should adequately prepare for anticipated questions from the interviewer after receiving a date and time. It is extremely important to understand that some initial questions are typical and common to most interviewers, but the content of subsequent questions may be radically different.

Therefore, my advice to applicants is that apart from their personal details such as education, previous jobs and experience, they should research employers thoroughly and systematically.

Also, during the interview, candidates should try to relate education and experience to the employer nature of the company. This will not only undeniably help answer unexpected questions from the interviewer, but will also be a sure way to build professional confidence and successfully impress them.

How should a candidate prepare for a phone interview? First you have to convince yourself that you asked for the interview with the intention of getting a job and that the call is more important to you than to the interviewer. Therefore, I suggest that you treat the occasion as a special occasion for you and focus on winning.

You now know the date and time of the interview. The first and most important preparation should be to set up a comfortable space for the interview. You need to choose a comfortable place that is free from distracting distractions and background noise. During a phone interview, unlike an in-person interview where the location is specific, a slight outside distraction can be disastrous for the flow.

Be there a few minutes before the scheduled time to make yourself comfortable and relax before the call. Keep the printed application (or computer screen) in front of you, a pen, a notepad, and any other stationery you might need. Do your best not to pick up the phone in a hurry or miss the call. Using a head or earpiece is recommended as it provides livelier responses from you.

It’s a chat where the person talking to you can’t physically see you. Still, in my opinion, as a candidate, you have to dress up to be successful. This does not mean that you have to be fully dressed as if you are attending a face-to-face discussion.

However, instead of wearing the casual clothes you normally wear at home, it is good to be in suitable attire for the interview, as such preparations give the candidate more confidence. In particular, appropriate attire can remove the feeling of distance and set the mood for an in-person interview.

Bridging the Impersonal Gap

You may have already heard and/or experienced that in a telephone conversation, the person on the other end can imagine the image of the other. Even if you’re not physically visible to your potential employer on the phone, they may see your smile.

Therefore, it is essential that you keep smiling and maintain a pleasant disposition as if you were in a face-to-face discussion. Your pleasant, friendly smile can also help bridge the impersonal gap. Brainstorming possible questions and answers is one of the best ways to prepare for a phone interview. Remember that unlike in-person interviews, there can’t be too much of a pause between questions and answers. Your silence for more than a minute can interrupt the flow of the conversation, which can make the interviewer unhappy.

Therefore, the best way to organize yourself is to prepare the possible answers before the interview. If you are really interested in getting a job, you can even organize mock sessions with the help of your family or friends.

During an in-person interview, you cannot look at a piece of paper because you must maintain eye contact with the recruiter. However, since phone calls are non-visual, you are free to look at any note to double-check before answering a question. This ensures that you don’t miss critical points.

Therefore, my advice to interviewees is to keep fact sheets with important company details, examples of your successes, related experiences, and questions you may want to ask the interviewer. This sheet of paper, which some people call a “cheat sheet,” not only helps you reduce the length of pauses, but also provides more accurate answers.

Invariably, at the end of most interviews, whether in person or over the phone, interviewers ask if you have any follow-up questions about the position, job description, or company. They most often expect the candidate to cross-check the interview questions. Asking the interviewer questions is not only a necessity, but also demonstrates your confidence. Besides personal questions, it is helpful to ask questions about company goals, potential customers, market trends, or any other related aspect.

Positive follow-up

Like in a sale, you can lose to a stronger competitor vying for the same position. Therefore, you must do everything to win. A positive follow-up is a surefire way to set yourself apart from competing candidates.

Therefore, writing a well-worded note, thanking them for the opportunity and their time, and sending it through the same channels you received the interview invitation can be incredibly effective. To an interviewer, this can indicate how fine-tuned your character is, and that’s certainly a valuable perk.

Finally, the candidate must realize that for the interviewer, you are one of many potential recruits. Their role is to assess you without physically seeing the candidate based on how you answer their interview questions.

As discussed, answering these questions where you have ways to adjust without seeing has many benefits. Therefore, you have a good chance of convincing the interviewer if you are sufficiently prepared for the task.