In previous posts I’ve reviewed some tips about how to handle phone interviews. I’ve conducted many phone interviews over the years and frequently find that people don’t prepare for these as thoroughly as they do for in-person interviews. This is a large mistake because you won’t get that in-person interview unless you make it past the phone interview.
With so many applicants in today’s continuing tough job market, phone interviews are becoming more common, particularly for initial screening purposes, and consequently I’d like to reiterate my previous tips and cover a few more.
Pick Proper Surroundings
At home is best, where you can control the environment and eliminate interruptions. Unfortunately, you’re more likely to have to do it from work. If that’s the case, under no circumstances should you take that call from your desk. If it’s an unscheduled call, feel free to ask if you can call back at a better time and schedule it for your lunch hour. This will not make you look bad and if fact shows that you respect your current job and want to manage your time effectively.
If your phone interview is from home, be sure to dress as if you were already on the job. This will help you get into a proper business mood for the call and will definitely affect how you come across with your answers.
Stand Up and Move Around
Believe it or not, you’ll sound more dynamic and confident if you stand up than if you sit down. Also, walk around a bit as you talk and you’ll find it will help move the conversation along more smoothly. This is the main reason why the best public speakers walk around the stage as they talk.
Use a Land Line
If at all possible, use a land line rather than a cell phone for your phone interview. As handy as cell phones are, their sound quality and reliability are not as great as a conventional phone. It’s one less thing for you to worry about.
Have Reference Material Available
The advantage to a phone interview is you can have a variety of resources available that no one but you can see. I recommend you have a list of talking points to check off as the interview progresses, as well as detailed information about the company and a list of your accomplishments that are specifically tailored to the position for which you’re interviewing.
You wouldn’t think of looking down with a blank expression on your face in a personal interview, so don’t do it in a phone interview. Just as standing up can make you sound more confident, smiling when you speak will make you sound more pleasant and positive. Remember: the impression the interviewer will have of you will come primarily from your voice, so make sure it sounds as confident, positive and cheery as possible.
Have a Well Lit Room
This is another of those subjective areas that can affect how you come across in a phone interview. It’s much easier to be alert and active in a brightly lit room and this will add just a bit more positive tone to your voice.
In a future post I’ll review some does and don’ts for a growing trend: the video interview!