Phone interviews are hard for a variety of reasons. Firstly, they are usually shorter than an in-person interview, so you have to make a lasting impression in a quick amount of time. Secondly, they require you to make a first impression without ever seeing the employer face-to-face. Thirdly, having a physical barrier makes it harder to read the person on the other side. Because of these obstacles, preparing for a phone interview can present some new challenges.
On the plus side, you are in the privacy of your own space during a phone interview, so feel free to have your resume and any personal notes on the company you have prepared in front of you. Just remember: hiring managers are pretty good at telling the difference between someone who’s reading off of a sheet of paper, versus someone who is being genuine with their answers; so, although you can have notes in front of you, try to memorize as much as possible to sound natural, honest, and comfortable.
Phone interviews also require you to maintain more energy, both vocally and through the content of your answers. Since a recruiter or hiring manager can’t physically see you, you need to make sure the quality of your speech represents you well. Speaking clearly and giving concise answers that directly address the question are very important. You should also reflect some excitement in your tone; don’t overdo it, but make sure the interviewer knows you are glad to speak with them and interested in the role. Building rapport also gives you a great chance to laugh and add some light moments to the conversation, which will give dynamic aspects to your interview and show you have an affable and personable demeanor.
Acknowledging the speaker is also important to show you are engaged and interested in the conversation. Offering statements like, “I see,” or, “that sounds great,” to follow up on a comment made by the employer are great ways to acknowledge the employer’s statements, since you can’t use body language responses like nodding or smiling. Make sure not to overdo it, however; you want to show them you are listening, but you don’t want to interrupt or become distracting. Try and use your intuition—when they might be done with a long phrase or long explanation, follow up with a statement. Asking follow up questions is also a great way to show you’re engaged in the conversation.
Make sure the setting you are in for your interview is quiet, so you aren’t picking up background noise, which can reflect unprofessionalism. Also, try and keep a water bottle with you; if you feel your throat getting dry, take a quick sip while the other person is talking, so your vocal quality remains clean and consistent. Make sure you are in an area with cell phone service; have someone call you before your interview to make sure your phone works!
Remember: phone interviews are usually the first impression you leave the employer, and they glean an image of you based on your phone interview. Leave them with a great first impression!
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Posted by John Carroll. Posted In : Job Search