First and final interviews via phone
It’s rare that the whole interview process will happen over the phone; it’s the first and final rounds when these are most likely to take place. But in the current market, many companies are reluctant to pay for candidates to travel to the UAE for an interview given the talent pool already available locally. So, unless you have a specialised skill set or experience that is in high-demand, you may have to consider paying for your own travel if you are looking to relocate to this region. However, if your aim is a move to Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Kuwait then organisations may be more willing to fly you in for interview as there are fewer candidates available in those markets.
Five top tips for your telephone interview
You may not be in the same room as the hiring manager, but that doesn’t mean you should treat your interview any differently than you would in a face-to-face meeting. If anything, you may have to work a bit harder to make a good impression.
Here is Michael Page Human Resources’ advice to bear in mind when preparing for a telephone interview.
Make sure you know the exact time for the interview, especially when different time zones and daylight savings may affect things. If you change phone numbers, keep the employer updated; there can be a big delay between applying for the role and the interview. Your mobile might not be the best option for a telephone interview since you want to ensure you have good signal to avoid accidentally cutting the call short.
Prepare for a telephone interview in the same way you would for a face-to-face one. The process will be much the same, other than the fact you won’t be in the same room. Don’t assume it will be easier; the interviewer will be able to tell if you’ve not done enough research.
One advantage of being interviewed over the phone is that, unless you’re using a webcam, you can consult your notes. Don’t have pages of writing in front of you though, since you might find that reading through to get to the relevant part makes you sound hesitant and unsure. Instead, write short, concise notes that you only need to glance at. It’s worth keeping a pen and paper on hand as well, in case you need to take notes during the interview.
4. Body language
It may sound strange, because the employer can’t see you, but you should be aware of your body language as it can change the way you project yourself over the phone. Sitting down in a comfortable chair might make you sound too relaxed or even disinterested, so your best bet is to stand up; it should keep you alert.
A quiet space where you’re unlikely to be interrupted is the best spot for a telephone interview. Ensure that other people in the building know what time the interview is due to take place and how long it will be in order to avoid being disturbed.
6. Structured responses
Try and keep your answers detailed but concise as people tend to lose concentration faster over the phone. The interviewer can become disengaged quickly with rambling answers, so keep each response to two minutes or less. You can always ask if they’d like you to expand on any points.
Structure your answers using the ‘STAR technique’ – concise stories with a beginning, middle and end which will help you demonstrate your capabilities by highlighting real life examples. Start with a brief introduction outlining the situation, then explain the task – a description of job you faced and the goals and objectives for you, your team and organisation. The most in-depth part of your response should come next with the action, where you detail how you managed the task including information on your direct involvement and the skills and resources you used. Lastly, wrap up your answer with evidence of the result where you demonstrate the benefits that the actions had for the company/team and for your own personal development.
As a last note, although it might seem obvious, if your interview is taking the form of a VC, make sure you wear a suit or appropriate interview attire.