It’s important to prepare as much for a phone interview as you would for an in-person interview. Our phone interview cheat sheet shares the most important tips for how to prepare for and ace a phone interview.
Due to the remote nature of most of our jobs, interviews are done over the phone instead of in person. As a part of The Job Shop recruitment process, you will have an initial phone or in-person interview with one of our recruitment consultants. If that goes well and your experience and references check out, you will then have a phone interview with the employer.
Have an Australian phone number
Our number one tip in our phone interview cheat sheet is have an Australian mobile number. Even if your phone plan at home works in Australia, recruiters and employers are much less likely to ring you if they see an overseas mobile number. They may assume you are not in the country or not want to bother with the hassle of dialling an overseas number and paying extra for the call.
Find a good location
The best conditions for a phone interview are for you to be in a quiet place with good mobile reception and no distractions. You will want to be in a location where you can hear and speak clearly.
If a recruiter or employer rings you when you are in a loud area, at work or in a spot with poor mobile signal, ask if you can ring back or reschedule the call for another time. It’s much better to delay the call, get somewhere quiet and ring back when you are ready.
Set up your voicemail
It’s possible you will be busy or out of range when you get the call for a job. In this case, voicemail is your first impression. Make sure you have your voicemail set up with a clear and concise message such as “You’ve reached Amy Smith, please leave a message”.
We realise that your friends are ringing you on this number as well and it’s fun to have music or a clever message like “you know what to do”, but don’t blow your chance at a great job but making a bad first impression.
We have also noticed many people who have no voicemail. This is an issue as an employer might think they have the wrong number and not leave a message. A simple voicemail set up will ensure you don’t miss an important call for a job.
Do your research
Always review job description and research the location of the job before a phone interview. This is particularly important if you have applied for multiple jobs in different locations.
Interviewers will be more inclined to consider someone who has clearly done their homework on the job and asked thoughtful questions versus another person who asks, “which job was this for again?”
Be honest about your situation and availability
If you have done the step above and done your research, you will know all the relevant details of the job, including start date, length, how many jobs are available, etc. Do not assume that the employer is willing to make an exception for your situation.
There is nothing worse for an employer or recruiter than getting to the end of an interview with a great candidate for a job and then they say something like “by the way, can my girlfriend come with me?” or “sounds great but I already have a trip to Bali planned, can I start after that?”
Be up front about your situation at the start. Saying “Thanks for the call, I am very interested in the job however I’m travelling with a partner. Is that an issue?” is much better than going through a 15-minute phone interview and mentioning your partner at the end. Your interviewer will be appreciative that you haven’t wasted their time and may be happy to consider you for another position that suits your situation or availability better.
It is ridiculous that we have to say this, but we do. Some phone interviews can be very casual, but that doesn’t mean you can forget your manners. No exceptions!
Confirm the next step
Be sure to confirm the next step in the application process before you end the call. Is there anything else you need to submit for the application? Will the employer be ringing or emailing you to let you know if you got the job? If so, when? Or if you were offered the job, when do you need to respond to say if you accept or decline?
By clarifying the next step on the call, you are not only showing you are interested in progressing but also ensuring that you aren’t left hanging with no response.
Say “Thank you”
No matter what the outcome of the phone interview is, be polite and thank your interviewer. Trust us, people notice good manners. A positive end to the call will leave a good impression.
**Advice for non-native English speakers**
First off, good on you! It’s hard enough to get a job in your own country, let alone one where you don’t fluently speak the language. Here are some extra tips:
Find a good location is even more important for you. Listening and speaking in English during a phone interview will require your full concentration. Australian accents can be hard to understand even for English speakers (!!) , so put yourself in a calm and quiet environment for listening.
If you don’t understand something, ask the interviewer to repeat
Please do not be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat something you did not understand. In most cases, they will be happy to do so. It’s better to be clear on what is said instead of just saying “yes”.
Do the interview yourself
If an employer or recruiter is ringing you to talk about a job, they want to speak with YOU. Even though your friend or partner might have better English, you must do the interview yourself.
Give it your best shot. Do not pass the phone to someone else or have another person ring on your behalf. If your English isn’t fluent enough for the phone interview for the job, then it’s not the right job for you.
Recap of phone interview cheat sheet
Although a phone interview may be casual, take it as seriously as you would an in-person interview. How you come across on the phone in your initial conversation with an employer or recruiter will set the tone for the rest of the application process.