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Succeeding in telephone and group interviews

 

Succeeding in telephone and group interviews Businesses want to secure the best people through a rigorous recruitment process, but often there simply isn’t time to devote to traditional face-to-face interviews, especially in the early stages. Employers are increasingly using more efficient means to screen candidates, such as telephone and group interviews.

In today’s competitive jobs market, candidates need to ensure they are prepared for every eventuality, so here Michael Cheary at reed.co.uk gives his guide to success in every interview scenario.

Perfecting the telephone interview

If you are sitting in your pyjamas, finishing your breakfast with the TV on in the background and think you are having a kind of job interview, but not a ‘proper interview’, the chances are that you are not performing very well in a telephone interview scenario. This doesn’t bode well for your chances of securing employment, as businesses are increasingly using telephone interviews to filter candidates. This makes it an important first hurdle to jump in the job search so bear in mind the following tips.

It’s all in the tone – as the interviewer cannot see you, candidates have to work a bit harder in a telephone interview to convey their interest in the job using their voice. That doesn’t mean that you should sound ridiculously excited, but smiling when you are talking and standing up to do the interview can help to inject enthusiasm and confidence into the way you speak.
Make the most of the scenario – unlike a face-to-face interview, you can have a prompt sheet in front of you to help you with particular questions. Don’t go overboard as you don’t want to sound as though you are reading from notes or rustling papers. However, a few bullet points on examples of work you’re proud of and research you’ve done on the company, plus a copy of your CV could help if your mind goes blank.
Listen and don’t interrupt – undoubtedly the most important element to consider. The easiest way to avoid irritating the interviewer is to let them finish their sentence. You need to demonstrate your listening skills as much as your knowledge and confidence. Take note of anything that seems of particular importance, just in case they refer back to it later. If they don’t, you can bring it up when answering the inevitable ‘any other questions’ invitation at the end of the interview.

Other telephone interview tips include using a landline, turning your mobile phone off, having a glass of water to hand, enunciating your words and remembering to breathe.

Standing out from the crowd in a group interview

Not only are group interviews more efficient, they also give employers a unique view of how you interact with your peer group and different personalities – a candidate’s communication, interpersonal and leadership skills are on display for the prospective employer to see in this type of interview. It is therefore important to remember the following:

Remember the basics – in a group interview you don’t want to be remembered for the wrong reasons, so ensure you dress appropriately, arrive in plenty of time (but not ridiculously early), remember the names of the people who are interviewing you and behave professionally throughout the interview.

The ice breaker – in a group scenario, there will inevitably be some kind of ice breaker, such as "tell us an interesting fact about you”. Try and prepare for this as much as possible, so that you’re not left floundering.

Be courteous – avoid speaking over other candidates and make sure you concentrate when they are talking so that you don’t miss anything that could be referred to later in the interview.

Be inclusive – while you want to stand out, the group interview is also about demonstrating your interpersonal skills and showing that you are willing to listen to others. If there’s an introvert in the group, getting them involved in the task and encouraging them to participate will win you major points, both with your fellow candidates and with your interviewers.

For more career advice, go to www.reed.co.uk/career-advice.