Article: Telephone Interviews – Be Prepared, Stay Cool

Telephone Interviews
Be Prepared, Stay Cool

When most people think of a job interview, they picture an office meeting with an employer who tosses question after question to the prospect. These days, however, with the applicant pool so large and time restrictions so tight, some companies are choosing the telephone as step one in the interview process.

Employers use brief phone conversations to pare down the number of applicants for a job opening and develop a short list of candidates worthy of further consideration.

The advantages to the company are:

      • Telephone interviews can be done more quickly than in-person meetings.
      • Minimal time is wasted on inappropriate candidates.
      • The list of questions can be standardized.
      • Interviews can be delegated to a lower level employee so the cost is less.

If you have an appointment for a phone interview, don’t be intimidated. Instead, take some time to prepare. That will help you stay calm and relaxed during the call. Also, consider the following tips.

Eliminate distractions and background noise like a radio, TV or children close by. If necessary, relocate to a quiet location. No eating, drinking or chewing gum during the interview.

Take notes during your conversation. Write down any information regarding the position. You may also need to write down a meeting time, interviewer’s name and directions to the location of the company. Be sure to always get a phone number as well, just in case you have to call to reschedule the interview.

Briefly summarize your experience and educational background. The interviewer will steer the conversation. Your strategy is to provide facts that support your resume along with some context about your performance.

Make every effort to sound professional yet personable. Be aware that the interviewer is listening for any reason to eliminate you from the prospect pool. Choose your words carefully.

Avoid simple yes and no answers. Try using numbers and facts to be effective; however, you don’t want to volunteer anything that could disqualify you, such as quoting a salary desire that’s very high.

Stand up. Standing can help your voice sound stronger. But don’t pace; you don’t want to sound out of breath.

Look for opportunities to express your interest in the job and the company. You can come right out and say that you would appreciate the opportunity to talk about the job further, in person. Ask when you’ll hear from the company again. Close the conversation by thanking the interviewer for his interest and time.

Realize that you are unlikely to win the job from a telephone interview. Your goal should be to land an appointment for a face-to-face interview.

Want more tips to help you succeed in a job interview? Check out the book, Job Hunting in a Tough Economy. Learn more about the job search book here.

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