Nail your phone interview with these 10 tips
Via College : Phone interviews are a nightmare to the inexperienced and unskilled in phone etiquette. Should I be loud? How long will it be? Will the interviewer hear how nervous I am?
Don’t worry: I have you covered.
Why do phone interviews exist, though? If there’s a long list of candidates, this is a fast process of elimination. If you really want that interview in person, you have to work for it.
There are three basic steps in the process: preparation, interview, and follow-up. All three are extremely important to having the best phone interview. Within each step, I’ve laid out more specific tips to help you land a second interview.
When scheduling the interview, make sure you can absolutely take the call. Look at your schedule and make at least two hours of space for the interview; you need to prep and there’s no way to know how long you’ll talk.
If the interviewer asks you to choose the time, be aware of the company’s operating hours — this information can be found on their website or simply by asking the email correspondent. Shoot for earlier call times so you can be one of the earliest voices they hear in the day.
Find a quiet space wherever you are: your bedroom, a study room or an unused office. If others are around you, let them know you aren’t to be disturbed for a while. Nothing screams, “NEXT!” like your roommate barging in and half-yelling at you while you’re on the phone with a potential employer.
Notes are necessary for both phone and in-person interview. Research what you can on the job description, company, interviewer if you know their name, and common questions. Be prepared to answer questions about a recent challenge, any prior skills or related knowledge how to perform the job, and what you’re looking for by applying to the position.
You’ll need a quiet environment, your notes, and your undivided attention to take your call and blow your interviewer away, so be prepared.
Now that you’ve prepared your notes, prepare yourself. You only have your voice and notes to carry you through this phone interview, so having strong conversational skills and a smile on at all times can enhance the enthusiasm you’d show in person. Engage in small talk other than just a question-and-answer discussion to express how well-rounded and sociable you are.
Smile a lot. This may seem silly when you’re the only one in the room to notice. However, smiling will make your voice sound warmer and “allow you to maintain a friendly tone.” You communicate a lot with body language, but the smile in your voice is just as solid as any physical smile you can present.
Posture is also a major component of your voice tone. If you’re in your bedroom, don’t lay on the bed. You’ll sound like you’re just waking up and only partially paying attention. Sit up straight on a chair and talk as if you’re actually there in person. Your voice will be strong and clear for the interviewer to hear.
Questions not to ask during the interview: “So how much will I be getting paid?” Worry about salaries and time requirements later. You don’t want to get ahead of yourself. If the interviewer doesn’t mention it, you don’t mention it.
This isn’t to say you can’t ask questions; just don’t ask questions as if you already landed the job. Instead, ask about the common interaction between employees and their work or how the team operates a project.
Something that speaks volumes about a person is how they close a call, so keep it light and friendly so that you can keep in touch later. This will pave the way to following up, our next step in the phone interview process.
Following up is the most commonly ignored step in the interview process. People don’t want to seem pushy or annoying, and others don’t really know how to. A simple “Hi, I’m still here” isn’t enough, but a two-page letter is also not the smart thing to do. Instead, try these tips as follow-up moves.
Offer insight on how you think the interview went. Let them know that you thought their position is a right fit for you after having a clearer picture by the sound of the work environment. Thank the interviewer for their time and patience and how much a pleasure it was to talk with them.
Always be of more service to them than they can be to you. If you come across a piece of information that you talked about over the phone, send it their way with a small message as to why they’re receiving it.
Stay in touch as much as possible. Obviously, you don’t want to send an email every day on updates about your life. Monthly check-ins are as often as need-be if you aren’t hearing back from them. It might seem annoying to you, but they’ll notice your efforts and appreciate the time you took to write to them. Your interviewer will always be reminded of you and may even contact you in case another position is better for you.
Speaking from personal experience, phone interviews are a bit more nerve-racking than interviews in person. You aren’t 100 percent sure if the interviewer got a better look at who you really are other than your resume and your answers.
You can only hope you prepped enough, sounded confident enough in your ability to do the job, and are still on the interviewer’s mind up to the decision of employment.
Nayra Mendoza writes for Uloop, a leading college news and college classifieds resource for student housing, jobs and internships, roommates and sublets, tutors and scholarships, study abroad, test prep, and local services for college students.
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