Your CV has got you noticed by a recruiter but the hard work doesn’t stop here! The next stages are arguably the most important as you continue to prove that you are the most suitable candidate for the role.
In most instances, there are at least two interview stages; a telephone interview and a face to face interview (or a virtual interview during Covid-19). Some roles may hold additional interview stages or conduct role-related activities or tests to further assess your ability for the role. These could include presentations, technical testing or sales based scenarios.
Regardless of whether you are interviewing on the phone or face to face, you should treat both as equally important, so to help you prepare and perform to your best ability, we would like to share our advice:
Step 1: Plan
Preparation really is key. Naturally, interviews can be a very nerve-wracking experience but, as with anything, preparation (and practice) makes perfect. Set yourself up for success by adequately preparing ahead of the interview:
Step 2: The Interview
You’ve prepared for success, now it is your time to shine. Whether you are interviewing on the phone, virtually or face to face, remember these tips to ace the interview:
Consider your surroundings – During a telephone interview, being distracted isn’t going to allow you to be at your best so find a quiet spot with minimal distractions. If you are on a video call, ensure you are in a professional environment clear of items or backgrounds that could distract your interviewer virtual interviews, familiarise yourself with the video interview platform beforehand and ensure you have a sufficient Wi-Fi connection. We recommend testing the technology ahead of your interview to ensure you are able to join the meeting promptly.
Smile – It may sound silly but you can hear a smile! Smiling whilst talking to someone on the phone changes your tone of voice and helps to convey your enthusiasm and interest in the role or company. We want to hear why you are excited to join us, and by smiling, your sentiments will sound more genuine. Your body language can also help too – slumping on the sofa or lying in bed will come across in your tone and could translate to you seeming uninterested in progressing in the process.
Take notes – During telephone interviews, Recruiters will start to bring the role, team and company to life and what’s more valuable research than hearing from an existing employee directly. They may provide you with some information that could be useful down the line, so take notes of anything you think could be relevant. Phone interviews are a useful place to ask questions to learn more. The answers you receive could shape conversations you have with the hiring managers and help you stand out against other candidates.
Listen to the question – Arguably, one of the most important parts of an interview is to listen carefully to the question and pick out the keywords. Are they looking to understand how you work as part of a team, or do they want to know when you last met a deadline? If you are not sure what they are asking, ask them to kindly repeat or rephrase the question. Often, the interviewer won’t mind repeating and it is better that you are clear on the question rather than providing an answer that doesn’t fit at all.
Breathe - Take a moment to pause and think about your answer. Channel any nervous energy and maybe take a sip of water whilst you ponder the best example to give. Those few seconds can really help to gather your thoughts and provide a great answer. Ensure you are speaking clearly and not rushing your answers. You don’t want the interviewer to miss valuable information that could impact whether you are successful or not.
Structure your answer – You’ve got a great example from a previous experience so now you have to portray that to the interviewer. The greatest example could be lost if you don’t know how to communicate it successfully. Think about how to structure your answer so that the interviewer can clearly see the steps you took in that scenario and the outcome achieved. We often recommend to follow the STAR technique: Situation, Task, Action and Result to help you provide as much information to the interviewer as possible.
Answer truthfully – Ensure that all the information you are providing to an interviewer is accurate. You may want to sound like the perfect candidate in order to be successful, but you are likely to be caught out. Besides, everyone has different strengths and development areas and we often look for potential; those who acknowledge their areas of development and are willing to learn and grow, just as our business is learning and growing too.
Ask great questions – All interviews close with an opportunity to ask questions. You may be interested in the latest projects they are working on, how the wider team is structured or even what they enjoy most about their job. Whatever it is, make sure you have some appropriate questions to ask, as this evidences your interest in the role. Think about these beforehand or enquire further into something they have spoken about during the interview, proving you have paid attention and are interested in what they have been saying. Interviewers want those who join their team to be excited and have aspirations to achieve great things. Don’t forget to mention The Vodafone Spirit!
Leave a lasting impression – Everyone wants to ensure that they are memorable and that there interview stands out against the other candidates. Sometimes, the thing they remember most is the end of your interview, so be sure to end on a positive note. You should have the same energy leaving the room or ending your call, as you did when starting the interview. Thank the interview panel for their time and say a sincere goodbye.