Interviews

Telephone Interview Preparation Tips

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There are many things you must keep in mind when you are being interviewed over the telephone.  The most important thing to remember is that you are working toward that personal face to face meeting with the prospective employer.  If you create the proper first impression during the phone interview, your chances of being invited for a personal visit will be greatly enhanced.

The following points will assist you in telephone interviewing techniques and based on your ability, should gain you that personal interview you are seeking.

  1. Research the company, review your background, know your strong and weak points in relation to the position.  Keep a copy of your resume plus a list of your strengths and key accomplishments by the telephone.

  2. Be enthusiastic and assertive.  Remember that you don't have the benefit of expressions and eye contact to show your excitement and interest.  Some people find that they sound more animated if they stand while talking on the phone.  You need to demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest through your telephone manner.  Smile.  You will be amazed at how this changes your tone of voice!   

  3. Speak directly and clearly into the phone.  Don't engage in any activities that will hinder your speech such as smoking, eating, chewing gum, etc.  Make sure you  take the call in a quiet area with minimal noise and no distractions.  Turn off call waiting on your phone.  Make the effort to conduct the interview on a land line versus a cell phone to minimize interference and/or a dropped call.

  4. Be a good listener.  Avoid interrupting the interviewer and let them complete their thoughts or questions before you respond.  Once you have learned the necessary information be sure to find a way to demonstrate that knowledge during the interview.  Focus on what you can offer and do.  When describing your background, reinforce the positive and avoid the negative.  Try and turn any potential negative point into a positive response.

  5. Take notes.  You should be able to learn by the end of the interview what you need to know about the position and location.  Feel free to ask questions regarding the position/company/location but avoid questions to the interviewer which are 'me' oriented such as compensation, benefits, relocation packages, etc.  If pressed by an interviewer about compensation, respond with 'While compensation is important, other factors are also important such as location, company culture, job growth, etc."

  6. Ask questions that are open-ended and job related such as "What are the short and long term goals for this position?" or "What is the natural career progression in your company from this positions?"  The responses from the employer will give you an opportunity to restate your strengths.  You can also prepare responses to standard interview questions in advance and have some points written out on 3x5 cards.  This will help you feel more confident and in control, organized and focused....exactly what a prospective employer is looking for!

  7. What's the next step?  At the end of the interview, tell the employer you are interested in the position and ask "What is the next step?"  Then listen....if the response is positive, offer a few dates that you have in mind when you might be able to interview face to face with the employer.  Thank the employer and indicate you look forward to meeting face to face.  

Experts estimate that more than 80% of job interviews are won or lost during the first five minutes of the conversation. You have only one chance to make that positive first impression.

If the response is not positive, ask the interviewer what areas of concern he/she may have...then listen.  This will give you an opportunity to alleviate any concern or clarify any misunderstanding.  Then ask again about the next step and timetable.  Regardless of the outcome, thank the interviewer for their time and consideration.  Perhaps the current opening is not right for you, but leaving a positive impression may allow you to be considered for another opening within the company.