Whether you like or loathe them, interviews are an essential phase of the recruitment process and, if prepared for correctly can create the impression required to proceed to the all-important face-to-face interview stage. Intelligent People Recruiting Director, Chris Mason offers top insider tips on how to maximise opportunities presented during screening and the telephone interview.

“As a recruiter I’ve conducted over 18 years of screening calls for some of the biggest .com marketing and e-commerce organisations today, and I am frequently surprised by the complete lack of preparation and enthusiasm shown by many candidates – ultimately resulting in their applications not proceeding beyond the initial call with me.

Screening calls are a means to filter out unsuitable applicants based upon the job description, personality fit and experience required by the hiring company. I’d structure questions to confirm CV details are correct, that gaps in CV’s can be accounted for, indicated experience matches the confidence and language used by the individual and that the candidate could demonstrate their skillset in a variety of ways. The one factor that influences me above all others is attitude, and that the candidate expresses a sense of occasion. Does our conversation seem important to them, do they really want the job and even if they don’t have all the qualifications and experience required do they sell themselves to me? This gives me the confidence that they would do a great job of representing not only themselves but also my company’s reputation, and it’s more likely that as a recruitment specialist I’d be happy to fully endorse their application and do my utmost to setup a first-stage telephone interview with the hiring company.”

So, if you make it through the first part of the screening process, your CV has stood out amongst, possibly, hundreds of others and the hiring manager wants to talk to you. Well done! That’s a confidence boost right there! You’ve gained a telephone interview appointment, so now what? Follow our ten top tips to increase your chances of getting to that all important face to face interview and a step closer to your ideal job.

Chris’s top tips

1. Dress as if you are going to an interview or important business meeting… if you feel casual you’ll sound casual.

2. Safeguard your call area to ensure that you are not going to be interrupted, check that you have a fully charged phone, full signal if on mobile and have a glass of water at hand.

3. Prepare, prepare, prepare – investigate who will be interviewing you, check them out on LinkedIn and Google and update yourself on the latest news of the company. Have a copy of your CV and the job description to hand as well as a notepad with questions you would like to ask.

4. On the job description make notes against each point with examples of your own experience – examples of what you achieved, what your motivation was etc.

5. Answer the phone professionally and introduce yourself. Stand up if possible as this will make you feel assertive and SMILE. This naturally ensures you will sound alert and enthusiastic.

6. Remember the 3 C’s – speak Clearly, Concisely and with Confidence and don’t worry about silence on the call.

7. Be prepared for questions around your salary expectations, reasons why you are leaving your current role, length of your notice period, what your motivation is to move on (if employed) and what your career ambitions are.

8. Ask intelligent questions through your research and show your enthusiasm for the role by expressing examples of the positive impressions gained. Remember this is your chance to stand out and shine against all other candidates so show what can you give to them, sound interested in what they do, ask questions about the team, the environment, the job. If they haven’t asked you a question that highlights an area you know will impress, tell them before the end of the call.

9. Before you say goodbye, ensure you’ve expressed interest in the role. Confirm with them what the remaining recruitment process is, how long before you hear from them, and when you should follow up with your point of contact at Intelligent People. Make a note in your diary to follow up.

10. Above all else, thank them for their time and say that you look forward to hearing from them. Follow this up with a brief thank you email confirming your interest.

If you’re looking for a new job or have a role that needs filling we would love to help you. Our team specialises in placing talented Marketing and Ecommerce professionals in greater London and always have exceptional candidates and roles on our books. Contact us for more information.