Face Your Phone Interview with Confidence
Nowadays, more and more recruiters use telephone interviews as a screening technique to decide who is a serious applicant and whom they shouldn't invite for a face-to-face interview. So, you'd rather take the phone interview as seriously as an in-person interview.
Prepare to be awesome
Whether you are interviewed in person or over the phone, you have to be prepared. Research the company and the job you applied for. I would strongly advise you to prepare your answers to the most common interview questions as well. You will sound more calm and collected. Or you can go a step further: turn it into your advantage that your interviewer can't see you. Write down your answers on a piece of paper and keep it handy with your CV and a pen and paper in case you have to take notes.
Practice makes perfect, so practice, practice, practice. It will boost your confidence. Ask a friend or a relative to play the part of the interviewer. Your practice interviewer can give you feedback and advice how to improve your phone etiquette. You might even want to record your mock interview to check whether you sound enthusiastic and professional enough.
The environment matters
You might think that since the interviewer can't see your environment during a phone interview, it is insignificant. Wrong. It doesn't matter what you wear, but it is vital that you are not interrupted during the interview. So make sure you:
- ask your family or housemates to leave you alone for about 30 minutes
- don't let your pets in the room
- resist the urge to do anything else (the chores must wait)
- keep your phone charger handy or if possible use land line
- turn off your TV
- turn off your computer and laptop – in the 21st century century we can't live without our PC or laptop but the interviewer will hear when you click with your mouse or you tape on your keyboard and he might think you are not paying close attention or you are not really interested.
If it is an unexpected phone interview and the timing is inconvenient for you or you cannot create the ideal environment, don't be shy to ask if you could call them back and suggest an alternative time. Make sure you note the name of the interviewer.
Watch your phone manners
Your qualifications and your experience are not the only things that count during a phone interview. Your telephone skills and whether your personality comes through your phone interview can be decisive as well.
The most important thing is to stay calm and act naturally. It is a stressful situation but there are a few tricks to avoid awkwardness. Smile. It is a proven fact that when you smile your voice changes, so don't forget to smile when you pick up the phone. You will create the image of a friendly and positive person. Gesticulate. Just because the interviewer can't see it doesn't mean you cannot use gestures. It will make your voice more animated. You might want to stand up, some people feel more at ease and energetic standing. Make sure your voice reflects your enthusiasm and your interest in the advertised job as well.
Be professional. Don't make the mistake to think a phone interview is less formal. The interviewer is not a new friend so be polite, don't interrupt and use his/her family name unless you are invited to do otherwise. If it is a planned phone interview, a 'Hi, chum' when picking up the phone might ruin your chances. Similarly, don't smoke, eat or drink during the interview.
Take your time before answering a question. It is perfectly normal to gather your thoughts so don't hurry. Try also to avoid the short or negative answers such as “I can't.” or “I don't know.”
Don't forget: It is only the initial screening
Be succinct. Though your answers are very important, try to keep them short and straight-to-the-point. You can also leave the detail oriented questions like the ones regarding the salary and the possible training for later. Hopefully it is just the preliminary round and you will have your turn to ask those questions. Your major goal is to land the face-to-face job interview so don't forget to thank the interviewer for calling (never underestimate the power of politeness) and ask if it is possible to meet in person.
Was you phone interview a success? Great! You might also be interested in How to Answer Job Interview Questions