So, you’ve perfected your CV to get yourself on the job market and sent out some initial applications. A recruiter calls you to discuss your profile further, what do you do?

You’ve clearly got a background relevant enough to be interesting to the employer but, now is your chance to impress. Typically, a short phone call is what will separate you from the rest of the herd and ensure that you get to meet and impress in person!

Here are 6 further tips on how to handle an initial phone interview.

1.Watch how you answer the phone.

If you have recently been applying for jobs and an unknown or unrecognized number calls you, make sure you answer professionally. Far too frequently young professionals either answer with slang or, answer and say nothing at all! Just saying “Hello” or “________ speaking” goes a long way to set the tone of the call.

2. Don’t be afraid to reschedule.

If you are receiving a call off the back of your application, the employer is clearly interested in speaking with you. They will not ignore your application if you ask to move the conversation to a more convenient time. If you choose to speak when you are out, make sure it is a quiet place- not as you’re walking to a friend’s house during rush hour traffic. This not only makes you harder to hear but, it symbolises to the employer that either you are not taking the application seriously or, you lack the ability or confidence to plan ahead. Just ask to reschedule.

3. Do your research on the role.

As previously mentioned in an earlier post, it is fine to cast your net wide at this stage of your career but, do actually bother to do some research on each role you apply for. When a potential employer asks you ‘why are you interested in this position?” your answer should be more relevant than “well… it’s a graduate scheme, isn’t it?”. Think of what’s important to you. When applying for recruitment, for example, good answers could include being ambitious, hungry for progression and money motivated. If you can also relate your answer to the company specifically this will put you in an even better position.

4. Do use evidence!

When asked if you are hardworking/ competitive/ resilient… always use evidence. For example “I am highly organised by nature, which you can see by the fact that I juggled part-time work and University at the same time”. Saying it is one thing, being able to support the claim is another!

5. Watch your tone.

When you’re speaking on the phone the words that you are saying is only one part of the conversation. It is also important to make sure that you sound engaged- there is nothing worse than a candidate that sounds bored. It is hard to show personality on the phone but, it’s important to try- after all, it’s the most individual thing to you and therefore, a big factor in making you sound different to the hundreds of other applicants!

6. Do ask questions!

Yes, you should have done your research on the company and the position but, this doesn’t mean you know everything about the business! Most phone interviews will end with the opportunity to ask a question or two, make sure you do so. This symbolises an actual passion for the role and an interest in the business- something that can often set you aside from other candidates.