How do I do a great phone interview?

August 25, 2012 | Topics: , , , | READ 0 COMMENTS & JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Increasingly employers are using phone interviews to screen candidates before deciding to interview them in person. If you’re not sure about how to work your magic on the other end of a phone call, here are some quick tips for a great phone interview:

1. Don’t be caught off guard – It’s best to expect a complete interview to be conducted rather than just a quick chat. Keep a copy of your resume, your references, statistics related to your experience, and questions you have for the interviewer close at hand. If you receive a call unexpectedly, request if possible, to call back as soon as you can. Alternatively, keep copies of related documents on your laptop or phone.

2. Make it a home call – If you’re expecting a call to come through, make sure you stay at home all day. Interviewing for a position while on the bus or in café may seem comfortable to you but will come across as unprofessional to a recruiter. Further using a mobile phone, which can lead to dropped calls and bad reception, will only undermine the process further. Similarly, conducting an interview at your current place of work is both discourteous to your current employer and unwise.

3. Smile while talking – Even if the interviewer can’t see your face, a smile is conveyed through your tone of voice as both confidence and maturity. Make sure to stay enthusiastic and engaged.

4. Learn to mute – It is understandable that you may need a drink of water during an hour long interview, but the person on the phone need not know that. Use the ‘mute’ button for drinking water, changing positions, coughing, or even when typing.

5. Don’t talk about the salary – Even though recruiters use phone interviews to save on costs, there are still some topics best covered in person. If the question of expected salary
comes up, mention how you would prefer discussing the matter in person. If the recruiter insists, try to have a range prepared for your field and level and express that your expectations fall within that range.
6. Prepare answers beforehand – You may feel that spontaneous answers work better for you, but it is still best to note answers to possible questions beforehand. Questions related to knowledge of your field, future goals, and strengths and weaknesses are sure to arise but it is easy to trip up if unprepared. Hiring a professional job search coach to assist you in interview preparation may prove to be good investment.

7. Be polite – Even if you’re on the phone with someone and not meeting in person, etiquette matters. Allow the interviewer to finish before you speak. Ask questions in a friendly yet polite manner and keep all distractions – family or pets – out of the room.

8. Convince the interviewer – The point of the interview is to convince the other person you should be shortlisted for an interview in person. Going off topic, jumping from point to point or talking in circles does the opposite. Be concise and informative in order to get your main point across.

9. Apologise for any misunderstandings – Simple mistakes such as hearing a name wrong or not understanding a question should be immediately apologised for. Trying to cover them up only makes things worse.

For more information please contact Rosie at Positive Goals & Solutions today for an exploration of what’s possible for you. 0414 511 455 or

Adapted from article by Tyrone Norwood

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