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How to Ace the Dreaded Phone Interview

By Brenda on March 5th, 2012
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Interviews are hard enough in person, but there’s nothing quite like the dreaded phone interview. Many organizations utilize the phone interview for their initial screenings because it’s quicker and less expensive. The phone interview is much more difficult for many people because you cannot read the interviewer’s body language so you never know how you’re doing. Here’s how to ace the phone interview.

Ask how much time the interview will take

This can let you know what to expect. You’ll need to call ahead and ask how long the interview will take. This will ease some of the tension and anxiety you may be feeling now that you know how long the interview will take.

Talk in a quiet location

You never want to be interrupted by calls coming in, coworkers, kids, barking dogs, etc. This is very unprofessional and also affects your ability to focus 100% on the interview. If you’re on a cell phone make sure you get good reception and that your battery is fully charged.

Have notes

You can’t see them, but they can’t see you either. That means you need to have notes in front of you at all times. You don’t want to sound like you’re reading a script, but keep notes with details about the job, your qualifications, the organization, and other talking points you want to hit on.

Come prepared

An unprepared person will sound unprepared during an interview because it often shows up in the tone of their voice. There’s no excuse to come to an interview without being fully armed with details about the organization, what they do, and why you want to work for them. Hit up the web and do your research.

Know the description

Not knowing the job description will likely be your ticket back to the unemployment line. This shows you’re sloppy and do not do your homework. It also shows you’re not serious about the position or the company. Know the description and how you are able to fit it with the combination of your work skills, history and education.

Write out your answers

Most phone interviews have standard questions such as, “Tell me about yourself.” The best way to handle these is to write out the answers to these questions using your notes and then practice them. That way they come out sounding polished and smooth.

Come up with your own questions

This is a must for in-person and phone interviews. Be sure to never ask questions about pay, vacation times or hours.

Watch your tone of voice

This is a big one. Watch your tone of voice. Make sure you sound engaged and upbeat. They can’t see your body language so your tone of voice matters even more. Focus on being yourself and sounding natural. You may want to practice with a friend or family member and get their feedback on what you sound like. You may even choose to record yourself.

Category: Careers and Employment