Phone Interviews: How To Prepare For and Ace Them
Phone interviews are cheap, quick, and convenient for companies. Don’t be offended if you are offered a phone interview. You’ll wow your way into a formal face-to-face interview if you take the following steps:
Types of Phone Interviews • Perhaps you have initiated contact with the hiring manager or person of interest at your desired company. They have called you to learn more about your background. This is an interview. • You have been called by a recruiter or hiring staff member because of a resume or application you filed. They want to discuss an opportunity or set up a meeting with you; they might also ask you unexpected questions about yourself, your search, and your experience. You might not necessarily be prepared, but this is also an interview. • You have a preset time with a company representative to speak about your candidacy on the phone. This too, is an interview.
Preparation Tips • Practice by recording yourself responding to typical interview questions on video if you have a camcorder or voice recorder. Practice your speech patterns to eliminate “uhms” and “uhs”. • Create a Do Not Disturb note and put it on your door right before the interview. • Turn off your stereo, TV, computer and any other potential distraction. • Warm up your voice while waiting for the call. Hum or sing to yourself. • Use the restroom before your call. • If possible, place a mirror near your interview area so you can keep a watch of your face, mannerisms. Check to see if you are smiling – people can hear smiles through your voice.
Have Ready • Pen and paper, a calculator • Position advertisement • Resume & cover letter you customized for the position. Organize them in a manner that you’ll be able to flip easily between. • A list of accomplishments, related experience (like volunteer, memberships, etc), capacities related to the position. • Research you have completed on the company. • A short list of questions about the job, starting with the most important questions and going down to least important questions. • Your answers to typically asked questions like “Why do you want this job?”, “What makes you a good fit?”, “What are some goals you have in the next few years?”, “How did you find out about this job?”. You don’t have to read your answers word for word, but you can use them as a guide so that your response flows smoother. • Your calendar just in case they ask you to make an appointment in the future. • Have a glass of water handy in case your throat gets dry.
During The Interview • Thank the caller for their time and for the interest they have taken in you. • Confirm the caller’s name and company. Get the caller’s telephone number just in case you lose connection. • Pace the call. Let the caller do most of the talking, without interruptions. • Keep your responses focused, simple, and relatively short. Refer to your pre-recorded answers as a guide. If what you say is interesting, the interviewer will ask you to continue or will ask a question that builds on your response. • If you do interrupt, apologize and encourage the speaker to continue. • Take notes when necessary. • Thank them once more.
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