The Telephone Interview Advantage (For Candidates)

Written by: Lucy Walters
Published on: 30 Mar 2021

Telephone Interview AdvantageLike many others, companies within the Life Sciences industry have adapted over the past year to remote recruitment and onboarding. Whilst telephone job interviews aren’t new to the recruitment process, they have become more popular in recent times; acting as a more time-efficient and cost-effective way of screening candidates before a formal job interview.

As well as being beneficial to pharma recruiters and hiring managers, telephone job interviews also bring many advantages to candidates, not only saving you time and money too but also allowing you to prepare for your interview in ways that are unique to this setup. 

In this article, we outline some of the key benefits of telephone job interviews, along with tips on how you can make the most out of this opportunity.

What to Expect

Telephone interviews are mostly used to filter out candidates who aren’t suitable for the role, and who aren’t going to be invited to a formal interview. Although the structure of the interview will depend on the company and role you’re applying to, they usually take the form of an informal conversation about the role, as opposed to a structured assessment of your abilities.

In this ‘screening’ stage, you should be prepared to answer basic questions about your background, skills, experiences, and reasons for applying, including questions such as:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • What previous experience do you have in this area?
  • What do you do outside of work?
  • What is your understanding of the role?

These questions will help a recruiter or hiring manager assess your compatibility with the role in terms of your skills, experiences, and how well you’d fit in with the company culture. To be considered for a formal interview, you’ll need to make a great first impression during the call.

Make the most of your telephone interview by preparing in the following ways:

Print Out Your CV

Before the call, print out a copy of your CV and highlight the achievements that are most relevant to the role you’re applying to and use these as prompts to answer questions you may get stuck on. Remember that your interviewer already knows what’s on your CV, so be prepared to expand on what’s already there instead of reading word-for-word, and put your skills and experiences into the context of the role.

Write Down the Key Responsibilities and Requirements

Similarly, having a physical list of some of the key aspects of the role to use as prompts is a great way to make sure you’re covering the most important ground in your answers. Rather than writing down everything the role entails, make a list of the 3 most important parts to remind you of which skills and experiences you need to focus on the most.

Research Your Interviewer

Make sure you know who you’ll be speaking to and do some research on them before your call, especially on their role within the company and the key projects/developments they’ve been a part of. As you won’t get to see them during the call, putting a face to a name might also help to humanise your interviewer and relax some of your nerves!

Check Your Signal and Battery

Some places in your home might give you a stronger phone signal than others, so find the best place to take the call beforehand. Also, make sure to fully charge your battery as you never know exactly how long the call will last. 

Refine Your Verbal Communication Skills

As your voice will be the only thing for your interviewer to focus on during the call, you must speak as clearly as possible to help you communicate your strength as a candidate. Practice interviewing with a friend and record yourself answering questions to identify any bad speech habits, such as using lots of filler words or rambling lots in your answers.

Drink Water Beforehand

This will help you to speak with a clearer voice - especially useful if your interview is early in the morning and you sound a bit croaky!

Use a Professional Tone

Although a telephone interview is often on the more informal side, it’s important to remain professional throughout, from answering the phone to ending the call. Save the contact details of the interviewer beforehand to help you answer confidently and professionally, instead of mumbling a suspicious “Hello?” when you see an unrecognised number. When ending the call, talk as you would in a formal setting; thank the interviewer for their time and tell them you look forward to hearing from them.

Maintain Focus - and Don’t Start Pacing!

It’s tempting to start pacing around your house when talking on the phone, but remind yourself that this is still an interview, informal or formal. If the interviewer hears you pacing around, they’ll think you aren’t fully engaged in the conversation and this won’t create a good impression.

Turn Off Notifications

Don’t let yourself be tempted to look at your notifications or reply to messages. It will be clear if you aren’t engaged in the conversation and will only make you look unprofessional.

Make Your Call Stand Out…

Following the above advice will help you to communicate your key strengths as a candidate in a confident, clear, and professional manner. Make sure your telephone interview stands out by preparing as much as you can for your call to make the best impression on pharma recruiters and hiring managers, and land that second interview!

Visit PharmiWeb.Jobs for more advice on job interviews.