I recently had my telephone interview with Grant Thornton last Sunday. It was quite nerve-wracking watching the clock and knowing my phone would ring any moment. This was my third telephone interview. I had one last summer with ICAEW to become the campus ambassador and one with PwC, then this one with Grant Thornton. Here are a few tips on how to do your best in telephone interviews.
Step 1: Prepare
I know that it seems obvious but if you prepare in advance then the interview will run smoothly. I researched about Grant Thornton first on their website, then found out about them from other sources such as accountancy age. I applied for Audit and found out through Accountancy age that they had just welcomed a new audit partner to the team. I actually referred to this in my interview. It just shows the level of depth that you have gone into to learn about their company. If you are applying for Grant Thornton, check out their ‘spilling the beans’ blogs as these contain vital information and helpful tips which allow you to broaden your knowledge of the company and understand how current employees view the company. It allows you to find out about current roles of employees and their working environment. This gives you a valuable insight into the company so definitely check these out.
Step 2: Write bullet points and have these in front of you
I researched the key values and competencies of Grant Thornton and wrote these in bullet point form with short notes on how I have utilised these in my life. I used different coloured pens to highlight important points that I could say during the interview. I also had a copy of my CV in front of me in case the employer asked me about it. It’s good to have notes in front of you but try not to write too much as when you’re talking it can be difficult to find the information you could use if you have written large blocks of text.
Top tip: Try not to rustle the papers if you do decide to have notes as the employer might hear and it sounds very unprofessional
Step 3: Relax
If you sound nervous over the phone, the interviewer will notice. Try to relax your voice so it sounds smooth and unshaken. You will need to sound confident and friendly. Maybe answer the phone starting with ‘Good evening, Jade Street speaking’, obviously tailor it to you, if it’s morning say good morning and try to use your full name, maybe not your middle name but if you think it flows better do what makes you feel more comfortable.
Have a few deep breaths before the telephone interview and have the confidence in yourself and your preparation. Make sure that you sound friendly and not over confident. No one will be impressed if you’re too cocky.
Step 4: Ask questions
I asked a few questions at the end and the interviewer was very impressed with them. I asked about any further reading that I could undertake to ensure that I had the key knowledge to excel at this company and they gave me a lot of advice regarding contacting buddies as they have a buddy system and certain books which will guide me through the key information I will need.
Step 5: Reflect
Don’t agonise over the interview picking out every little detail but give at least 2 minutes after it to think about what went well and what you could have improved upon. Doing this will help you to get a grasp of how well it went and how to improve for future interviews as you will probably have more than 1. I have already had 3.
If you are still worried about your interview, there are the regular drop in sessions and events ran by the university to help you succeed. They can probably give a deeper insight and some more hints and tips in the secrets of a successful interview so don’t be afraid to seek help. My networking skills were awful so I attended a networking evening ran by Lancaster University last year and it helped me to develop my skills. I managed to make new contacts and find out about an employer connect scheme ran by Lancaster. I was paired up with a chartered accountant and all of this was due to me attending a networking event. This just shows how valuable the help from Lancaster University really is. Grasp these opportunities whilst you can.
‘Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.’- William Arthur Ward
Good Luck in your future telephone interviews.