Be Prepared to Dazzle in the Phone Interview
By Saralyn Mitchell
For many positions, employers increasingly rely on telephone interviews to screen job candidates before they are invited to the in-person interview. I find quite often candidates discount the importance of the phone interview and don’t prepare for it. This is a big mistake. Impressions are made in the first few minutes of the call so take the time to be well prepared. I hope these tips help you ace the telephone interview.
o Treat the phone interview like an in-person interview. Research the company and industry. Practice potential interview questions and answers with someone over the phone. Test your telephone voice. Consider the volume and tone. Be sure to introduce yourself at the beginning of the call using a confident voice. Smile…it will come through in your voice.
o Dress for success. Consider dressing up for the interview even though no one will see you. Just the act of getting dressed for the part of a job candidate will help you sound and be more professional
o Take control of your environment
Be sure you are located in a quiet place where you can minimize distractions and stay engaged. Eliminate background noise. If you’re interviewing from your home, be sure no one will pick up one of the other telephones and accidentally interrupt the interview. Do not have a TV or music playing in the background. Use a land line, not a cell phone.
o Have the right documents available. This includes your resume, the job description, and your list of questions for the hiring manager, a note pad and several pens, reference list, recommendation letters – everything you’d normally bring to an in-person interview. Put them on the desk or table in front of you and spread them out so you can easily see the information.
o Have water available. Stay hydrated and have water available so your mouth doesn’t go dry. Don’t chew gum, eat food, or smoke while you’re on your telephone call. The interviewer will hear you.
o Listen and think before you speak. Allow the hiring manager to take the lead during the telephone interview. Listen carefully and answer each question succinctly. Don’t go off on tangents when answering questions over the telephone and never interrupt the interviewer.
o Finish your telephone interview with class. Ask questions that will help you uncover what the hiring manager thinks of your qualifications and to find out the next steps in the hiring process. Reiterate your interest in the position and thank him or her for their time.
Here is a simple Telephone Interview Evaluation that may be used by an employer? How did you do?
o Did you have an enthusiastic voice?
o Did you answer questions vaguely or directly?
o Did you research the company well, or did you ask simple questions?
o Did you express interest in a second interview?
o Did you follow up with a thank-you letter?
o Did you pursue this opportunity with a phone call or e-mail?
You want to persuade the interviewer you are worth interviewing in person. This is your goal.