Entretien téléphonique : les choses à faire et ne pas faire


Today, it is common for companies to do a quick pre-selection via a telephone interview before meeting the candidates. In one phone call the recruiter will analyse your personality, your skills and your motivation for the position. This call must therefore be prepared for in detail to maximise your chances of success and to convince the recruiter to meet you for a second interview. To help you along in this process we have listed the various dos and don'ts of a phone interview.

Things to do...

Prepare yourself before your telephone interview

From the moment you start sending your applications to recruiters expect to be contacted at any time. Turn off the silent mode on your smartphone and practice telling them about your background, education, and work experience, just as you would before a video or face-to-face job interview.

You will then be ready to answer in a convincing and structured way the questions that recruiters are likely to ask you, such as: "tell me about your background", "what is it about this position that interests you?" or "why do you want to work for our company?", etc.

Be concise. Don't get lost in a long monologue at the risk of boring your interviewer. Also think about your salary expectations so as not to be taken by surprise and to be capable of negotiating.
Answer in a quiet place

Background noise may irritate the recruiter. So, if you have a telephone appointment, make sure you are in a quiet place at the time of the interview. Also, make sure you have good reception throughout the call and are not disturbed. Taking the call in the street, on the train, in the station, or in a café is a very bad idea.

Take notes

Sit at a desk or table with a notebook and pen. The information gathered during the interview will surely be useful during a future face-to-face meeting. Also, since your interviewer cannot see you, don't hesitate to keep the job description, the information you have gathered about the company and your CV in front of you, as well as your computer open to a search engine just in case.

Be available on time

As with a face-to-face job interview, be prepared to pick up your phone at the time set by your recruiter. If you have a last-minute problem (you are stuck in traffic, for example), immediately inform your interviewer by SMS. Don't waste their time.

Practice speaking in a foreign language

Does the job offer specify that the position requires mastery of a foreign language? If so, chances are that you will be asked to speak that language during your phone interview. To prepare, (especially if you have any doubts about your level) practice introducing yourself, telling the recruiter about your background and answering questions in the required language (e.g. the classic "tell me about yourself", "why did you apply for this job?" or "where do you see yourself in five years?").

...and what not to do      

Answering the phone

The advice may come as a surprise, but it's true. Answering the phone to a recruiter you don't know means taking the risk of not being able to remember the position and the company in question. So if you don't recognize the number on your phone, let it ring. If the caller is a recruiter, he or she will leave you a voice message with the company name and the job title. This will allow you to find the job offer and to research the company before calling back, thus avoiding mixing everything up. Moreover, when you are looking for a job, it is imperative to always keep to one side all the ads you have applied for, otherwise you risk confusing matters.

Having an overly familiar voicemail

At least during your job search, create a formal and concise voice message for yourself (if necessary) that avoids puns and familiarities. Similarly, when speaking on the phone, be sure to keep it professional and avoid verbal tics.

Doing two things at once

Just because the person on the other end of the line can't see you doesn't mean you can check your email at the same time. Taking a double call is also a no-no. You need to concentrate totally on your professional conversation. So avoid distractions at all costs and if you live with other people, move briefly to a separate quiet room.

Not asking questions

If you are interested in the position, you probably have some questions. Demonstrate to the recruiter that you are enthusiastic and motivated by asking at least two or three relevant questions about the position and/or the company during the interview. And if you have more, don't hesitate! The fear of asking too many questions is irrational. On the contrary, it shows your professionalism and the fact that you have prepared for the job interview.
On the other hand, by not asking the recruiter any questions, you could give the impression that you are not interested enough, or even that you are too passive or that you have not done any research. This is a two-way conversation, and you too need to learn more about the company, your responsibilities, your assignments and the team you will be joining.

Botching the end of the interview

At the end of the interview, don't forget to thank your interviewer for their time and attention. Before concluding, and if they haven't already offered it, ask them for some information about the rest of the recruitment process. When will they get back to you regarding the next steps? To make sure you don't forget anything, don't hesitate to write down this information.