When it comes to acing job interviews, job seekers immediately think of the one where you talk with an interviewer face-to-face. That may be true. However, before you get to this stage, there’s one other interview that you first have to pass: the telephone interview.

Telephone interviews last between 15 minutes and an hour. They are also unscheduled.

Hiring managers and recruiters do this for two reasons.

First, they want to shortlist those applicants that they find to be the most likely fit for the position. The element of surprise that comes with a telephone interview can make answering their questions even more challenging.

Second, they want to verify that all the information in your CV is true and accurate. They presume that if everything on your CV is correct, you will still be able to verify the details even at a moment’s notice.

That said, impressing the recruiter or hiring manager calling you is a critical step that would take you one step closer to the job you want to get.

Here are four tips to help you succeed at a telephone interview:

Avoid any background noise during the telephone interview

1: Find a quiet place to talk.

The moment you receive the call from the recruiter or hiring manager, immediately look for a quiet place to take the call. Doing this will make sure that you hear and understand the questions the interviewer will ask. At the same time, it will also make sure that the recruiter or hiring manager understand your answers.

If you’re in a place where it’s very noisy, and you can’t find a quiet place to take the call, politely explain the situation and give them a time to call you back. Recruiters and hiring managers will appreciate this because it shows that you respect and value their time.

2: Take time to prepare for the telephone interview.

As a rule of thumb, you need to start preparing for your telephone interview the moment you submit your CV to a job opening.

In addition to reviewing all the details on your CV, take some time to learn as much as you can about the company. Check out their website and make notes about the company’s mission as well as details about the department you’ll become a part of when you get hired.

Visit their social media sites to get a feel for the company’s corporate culture.

Also, be sure to write down any questions you may have for the interviewer. That way, you’ll remember to ask them during the telephone interview.

3: Smile.

Even though the recruiter or hiring manager can’t see you during the telephone interview, smiling throughout the call will make you sound pleasant, polite and energetic. Smiling also ensures you convey interest and confidence in the position that you are interviewing for.

4: Ask the interviewer about next steps at the end

Before ending the telephone interview, don’t forget to ask the interviewer what the next steps are. Again, this conveys interest but also helps to prepare in advance for what is to come. Of course, not only will you know right away how well you did but most importantly, what you need to do next.

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