Missed a call? Do you think about who it could be before calling back? Do you even call back? Whether during a graduate job search, or just in general, it is so important to do this.

Firstly, if you have missed a call and there is a voicemail then listen to the voicemail. It will contain information on the caller and the reasons behind the call, enabling you to prepare if it is important. There may also be a direct line left for you to call which does not appear as the number you missed a call from, listening to your voicemail and getting this number will save both you and the company hassle by avoiding the switch board as well as making you seem organised and prepared.

Secondly, when calling back, make sure you speak to the person who answers politely and helpfully. Simply stating 'You just rang me' or 'I just missed a call from you' doesn't help and does not give the best first impression, especially if you called a mainline and it wasn't that person at all. Don't forget they have to transfer your call and can tell their colleague the first impression you gave.

Man on Telephone

Preparing for your graduate telephone interview

When calling into a company or to a direct line our consultants recommend you first get the most information about who was calling and what the call is about, and use this to prepare. Always think about how you start the call, lines such as 'Hi, My name is... I had a missed call from... earlier on today/yesterday etc. Is it possible to speak to them now?' are always winners; it sounds professional and gives a great first impression.

A lot of roles will involve phone interaction, if you give a bad first impression on the phone, it could take you out of the running. Especially when applying for jobs, make sure you answer your phone professionally and with an engaging tone, never screen your calls and always call back using the best phone etiquette, you never know when it will count.

Skype Interviews

With candidates increasingly looking abroad for their perfect graduate job, employers are turning to technology to solve their recruitment conundrums.

Graduate interviews are daunting no matter where they take place, and for many the prospect of facing a camera and computer screen rather than an interviewer face-to-face can be even more nerve-wracking. Interviews via web cam certainly have their disadvantages, but there are also many tricks which can be used to ensure they run smoothly, and even give you an advantage over a more traditional interview setting. If you have been asked for an interview on Skype take a deep breath and read our tips for success...

The same rules apply... Whether your interview is in an office with your potential employer just 3 feet away, or in your living room with your new boss separated by several time zones, the same rules apply.  Prepare thoroughly by researching the job specification and company, by drafting strong answers to common graduate interview questions and by reading through your graduate CV for examples to include when demonstrating your competence.  One benefit of a Skype interview is that you can keep notes visible to you but not your interviewer in case nerves get to you, but be discreet when referring to them as scripted answers will obviously appear as such.

Dress for success... Remember you will be on camera, so dress as smartly as you would if you were in the same room. Dressing professionally will also help you get into a more appropriate mindset for a formal interview.  It is also important to make sure the area visible on camera is tidy, uncluttered and well presented as it will reflect badly on you if there are dirty plates and laundry littering your living room.

Do not disturb... Make sure you will have a room to yourself for the entire interview. Even if you have a good head set or microphone, any outside noise such as pets, children, background music or slamming doors will muffle the sound and make it very hard for your and your interviewer to hear each other. Certainly do not risk using an internet café or public space as you will have no control over any interruptions. A quiet room will also help you concentrate on forming the best answers possible.

Don't fidget... It is easy to forget that you are on camera due to the familiarity of the setting, but be careful not to fidget, scratch your head or cover your mouth. Body language is as important in a Skype interview as in a more conventional location, so sit up straight, think carefully about how you are projecting yourself and smile.

Testing...testing...1, 2, 3... Technology is infamously temperamental, so make sure you test all of your equipment prior to the scheduled call. Ideally find a friend or relative who can call you an hour or two beforehand so that you have time to resolve any technical hitches which may arise.  Although problems may arise which are out of your control, foreseeing possible difficulties will ensure that you come across as organised and professional, as well as technically able, which will impress your prospective employer. 

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