How do you respond to the unknown

The phone rings. Unknown number. You answer it - and suddenly find yourself in the middle of a job interview. The good thing is that at least you can't see the panic. It's bad that a trained recruiter hears them. What is such an overwhelming action all about - and how you can become a master of the telephone interview.

As feared as the telephone interview is, it is part of the standard application process, especially in large companies. It is usually an additional stage in the selection process that lies between the application and the personal interview. Obvious when you consider how many applications are received by companies: Even after sorting out all unsuitable submissions for the first time, the "Interesting“The stacks are often still huge - inviting all candidates at once would take a lot of time and effort. So the phone interview is put in between - which of course shouldn't mean the end for you.

One (half) round further

Even if the call comes unexpectedly and catches you cold: It is a good sign, because your application has obviously convinced. At least so much that they want to get a better impression of you. Is the person behind the résumé spontaneous, personable, insecure, self-confident, nervous, humorous? Can she express herself? Is she overwhelmed with the situation or can she handle it well? Your job: Make sure that the caller answers these questions as you see fit and invites you to an interview. Well, if that's all ...

Job Interview? Stress test? What the phone interview is all about

You are called out of the blue, you are asked questions, you answer something that you don't even remember correctly a few minutes later, at some point the phone call is over, you hang up and think "What was that just now ?!“A familiar scenario? Not just for you. Although everyone knows that it is nothing unusual, many are always taken by surprise when it comes to a telephone interview. And that is definitely desired.

Many HR managers use a spontaneous call to find out how an applicant reacts to the situation. After a few days in advance, anyone can appear perfectly prepared for the interview.

You can see where it's going: Don't start preparing after you've been invited, but as soon as you've submitted your application. A small cheat sheet with some key company information does no harm and gives you security when your phone rings. Basically, the same applies as for the job interview: be prepared for all eventualities. Just a little earlier.

To be invisible: a blessing or a curse?

The convenience of the telephone interview is obvious: no stressful journey, no searching for the right outfit, no fear of sweaty hands or shaky fingers. Instead, sweatpants, a couch and as much rocking your feet and playing with your hair as you want. The already mentioned option on a cheat sheet is just as fantastic - if you don't use it, it's your own fault.

Don't weigh yourself too safe: Just because you can't see your sweating at the other end of the line, you can still come across as nervous - the interviewer isn't doing this for the first time and is probably seeing pretty well with his ears. So it is better not to run back and forth all the time, but try to relax and become calm. It is better to focus on your tone of voice and your speaking speed - these reveal the most about you.

People who typically impress with their demeanor, appearance and body language, on the other hand, forfeit many advantages in telephone interviews. Especially if you are not very good at communicating and usually make up for this deficiency with your engaging personality, the phone call is a great challenge for you. Because here the purely linguistic communication is even more important than it already is.

So: Better to think about it for a few seconds than start chatting away. Both your choice of words and your way of speaking are on the gold scales here!

Telephone interview To Dos

  • Even if you have to expect a call at any time during the application phase, it can always be that the HR manager arrives at a particularly inconvenient point in time. When in doubt, it is better to politely ask to call you back at a later date. Or you simply do not answer an unknown number when you are at the doctor's, on the roller coaster or in the club and let the caller speak on the voicemail.

  • If you get an appointment for a phone interview, dress properly! You don't have to sit down at the kitchen table in your suit, of course, but lying on the couch in your sweatpants isn't a good idea either. Make sure you wear clean, tidy clothes and an upright position - it will have more of an impact on the impression you make on the phone than you might think!

  • Of course, you will turn off music and television during the call. In the event of traffic or construction site noise, it is best to close the windows as well.

  • If you are one of those people who like to talk to "Police main station xy“, „Hasenhausen animal cemetery"Or other" funny "ideas: Please use your full name again during the application phase.

  • You should pay more attention to any language ticks on the phone than in a personal conversation. Frequent filler words are, um, even more noticeable here. Always let your interlocutor finish speaking and also allow short breaks. You remember: Better two seconds too long than thinking too little!

  • No handshake, no eye contact: You don't have many options to establish personal contact with your counterpart. Be sure to address them by name (not in every sentence, of course). The personal farewell at the end of the conversation is very important, for example "Thank you for the pleasant conversation and I wish you a nice afternoon, Ms. xy”.

In principle, the telephone interview is a kind of “small job interview”. Treat it accordingly: intensive preparation, appropriate clothing and posture, good manners. Then the next time, the invitation to a personal interview may ring.