Telephone interview tips for locums

Written by: Sellick Partnership
Published on: 27 Jul 2016


Laura Hayward

Laura Hayward, specialist legal recruiter at Sellick Partnership, provides advice for conducting yourself during a telephone interview to give you the best chance of securing your next locum role. 

Locums are highly sought after during the summer months, as permanent employees take their annual holiday and the demand for temporary cover rises.

Working as a professional locum provides a lot of benefits – flexibility over the location of your work, more control over your rate, and the chance to build your skillset across a variety of sectors and businesses.

Because locums often work away from home and are needed quickly, telephone interviews are a popular method of assessing the right locum for the role. 

Here are some key pieces of advice for participating in a telephone interview: 

1. Make sure you are in a quiet place.

It sounds obvious, but make sure that you are in a quiet place. If you are out and about, sit in your car, or find a quiet spot. It is easy to be distracted on the telephone. Train stations, supermarkets and shopping malls are noisy and will be a challenging experience for yourself and the interviewer. If you are at home and there are others around you, make sure you have locked yourself away somewhere quiet. 

2. Ensure you have got enough signal and battery charge.

Make sure you have sufficient signal on your mobile phone. If you can avoid using it, even better! Have the call on a landline phone where it is far less likely that there will be issues with the connection. Also, ensure your landline phone and/or mobile have adequate battery power; landlines are often wireless and will need charging. 

3. Keep cool under pressure.

Time is limited but resist the temptation to talk too quickly. Be succinct and if you want to go into more detail, ask the interviewer if this is appropriate. If you have not fully understood a question, check with the interviewer to increase your understanding. This will give you more time to prepare an answer and prevent long silences on the phone. 

4. Allow adequate time.

Ensure that you set aside sufficient time for the interview. We have had experienced candidates who have needed to end calls prematurely due to other commitments, which unsurprisingly does not give the best impression. Allow 45 minutes for the call to be on the safe side. 

5. Dress professionally and smile.

Although the interviewer cannot see you, by smiling and wearing professional clothes you will feel much more confident, and this will come across to the interviewer. It is important to have good posture to assist with your sound quality, and some people find standing up helps them significantly.

6. Keep your CV in front of you.

An obvious benefit of telephone interviews is the ability to review your CV whilst speaking to the interviewer. Consider keeping your CV by the phone or in your handbag so upon receiving an unexpected call you are able to quickly switch into interview mode, ease into the call and help you provide relevant examples to the interview questions.

7. Prepare your own questions.

At the end of the interview consider asking one or two questions that have not been brought up that are job or company related. Think about these points beforehand and if necessary, write them down. You should have researched the organisation prior to the call and be able to demonstrate your knowledge of both the company and the interviewer. Have a notepad and pen handy to write down any points you want to come back to later.

Sellick Partnership are market leaders in the provision of locum, temporary, contract and permanent legal professionals within private practice, public sector and not-for-profit organisations.

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