We’re all used to doing job interviews in person. In fact, some of us have already mastered answering the questions of the hiring managers. Applying for a job can be quite a challenge, but once we get used to it, we become more comfortable and confident. However, it may be an entirely different case if you have to do your interview over the phone.
Yup, you’ve read that right. Gone are the days when a good resume is enough to make it the short list. Companies now conduct telephone interview first to identify candidates that interest them. If you make a good impression during the call, you’ll get scheduled for a final or one-on-one meeting. Here are some tips to help you ace a phone interview even if it’s your first time.
How to Prepare
Your phone could ring at any time, and unscheduled calls are never in your favor. So if you’re not prepared to take a call from a potential employer, schedule another time to talk. Leave a message on your machine that says ‘Great to hear from you, but I am not at my desk at the moment. Nevertheless, I would like to give this call the attention it deserves. When can I call you back?’
If you’re already scheduled to receive a call, prepare yourself by doing a thorough research about the company and its services. If you also got the name of your interviewer, find out what you can about him or her too. Make a cheat sheet to guide you during the interview. After all, the interviewer can’t see you. But if you fail to answer his or her questions, the call may be over in just a few minutes.
Make yourself feel at ease. The interviewer may not see you, but he or she can sense in your voice and answers if you’re tense and unconfident. Shut out any distractions and eliminate background noise that may disrupt the call. Have a glass of water in handy and be ready 10 minutes before the schedule.
What to Do During the Interview
Listen to the interviewer; let him or her take the stage and take notes from what he or she is saying. You can use this information to formulate your responses later in the call. Listen for things that you may share in common and use it to create a ‘bond’ with the interviewer.
When it’s your time to talk, make sure you use your voice to create a good impression. Avoid clearing your throat and sit up straight. Don’t forget to smile, especially when you’re talking about your past experiences, your accomplishments, or when asking questions. It will show your enthusiasm about the job and the company.
Remember, you cannot send or receive visual cues during a phone interview. So do the best that you can to create a comfortable environment and a positive ending. Thank the interviewer and stress out why you’re a perfect fit for the position. You can also send a ‘Thank You’ note through email if you want to. Most importantly, be patient. It may take some time before you hear from the company. You can follow up with the interviewer but try not to be bothersome; limit the follow-up to 3 and leave it up to them.