How to Succeed at a phone interview

The phone interview is an unavoidable part of looking for a job, and if you are in the process of searching for your dream retail position, there is a good chance that at one time or another you will be required to do one. Phone interviews are the step before the in-person interview, and are often used by recruiters to screen shortlisted applicants and decide on who to call in for a formal interview.

It’s important that you perform as well as possible during your phone interview to increase the chance that you will be called in for a face-to-face interview. Here are some suggestions to help you have a successful phone interview, and get through to the next step in the recruitment process.

Be prepared

Just like a face-to-face interview, preparation is key when you are facing a phone interview. Make sure you go through the position description beforehand and think about how your skills and experience match those required by the role. One advantage to phone interviews is that you can have notes in front of you while you talk (but avoid rustling pages or tapping on the keyboard!).

Avoid disruptions

Make sure you are in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. If possible schedule your interview for a time when you won’t have children or pets around and make sure the television or any background music is turned off. If a recruiter or potential employer calls at an inconvenient time and wants to talk, it may be better to ask if you can call them back at a more convenient time than try to undertake a phone interview with noise in the background.

Keep it professional

The fact that your interviewer can’t see you is no excuse for chewing gum, eating, drinking or watching TV while you are on the phone. Make sure you behave in a professional manner and speak clearly and slowly and give the call your full undivided attention. Your interviewer will be able to tell if you are distracted or not taking the call seriously, and this can give them a bad impression of you.

Phone interviews, like face-to-face interviews, can be nerve wracking, but they do get better with practice. By preparing well and making sure you are away from distractions, you can hopefully create an excellent first impression and be one step closer to your dream retail job.

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