It’s your call

There’s nothing quite like being interviewed in your pyjamas. Lots of people have emailed, asking for hints and advice about phone interviews.

  1. Time difference. Don’t be shy about reminding Australasian human resources departments about time difference. Seeing patients at 4am is one thing, being interviewed for a job requires skills that are likely to be less honed in the small hours.
  2. Prepare as you would for a face-to-face interview in the UK. Write some notes to likely interview questions and find out as much as you can about the area you are applying to work in.
  3. If you’re being interviewed at home, by all means make yourself at home. If it’s late, lie down. You’ll feel much better for it. All the management books tell you to dress as if for a face to face interview and stride confidently around the room. Avoid being too homely though. Kids, partners and pets may be seen but not heard.
  4. One of the best things about phone interviews is that you can keep all those important documents handy and refer to them. Keep your CV to hand as well as copies of relevant national health policies and local initiatives. You’ll look super slick if you refer to this sort of document during your interview.
  5. Expect a greater degree of informality. For my consultant interview in London, I was grilled like a flat fish and addressed in a formal style, not dissimilar to an encounter with Royal College examiners. The Kiwis greeted me with “Hey Sabina�? and it felt more like a chat over coffee. Whatever style is adopted, don’t lose sight of your goal, which is to sound both interesting and interested.
  6. Write down people’s names as they introduce themselves. It helps you make a quick connection between a voice and a name. Clearly, you can’t make eye contact, but if you address each panel member by name as you reply, it helps you establish a similar bond.
  7. Speak slowly. Avoid mumbling into the phone when you’re nervous. Smile when you speak. It changes your tone of voice.
  8. Don’t mention the beach.

I’m loving New Zealand and can only recommend a working holiday in the Antipodes.