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Phone-Interview Tips

Mastering a phone interview is the first step in getting that new job.

Mastering a phone interview is the first step in getting that new job.

It’s more and more common for companies to do phone interviews with job candidates. During this recession, there’s no shortage of candidates, and a phone interview is one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways for human resources to screen candidates whose resumes have made it through electronic scanning and are ready for a closer look.

If you can’t effectively manage a phone call, what does that mean for how you will handle the job?

Think about it this way: Being able to communicate over the phone with peers, managers, vendors and other business associates is a generally accepted way of performing many direct and indirect job tasks. A phone interview is an way to demonstrate a core competency for any senior-level position.

That’s not to say your phone skills will guarantee you the job. Nevertheless, they’re often a step to the next level: the in-person interview.

A blog post at Emurse has some very practical and well-thought-out tips for the best ways to handle phone interviews psychologically and physically. Remember, if you’re comfortable physically, it should translate in to a more comfortable interview.

Here are Emurse’s phone-interview tips:

  • Have your resume online (for easy access while talking and reference)
  • Have a pen and paper to write down any questions you might have
  • Have your company research handy including questions (good ones, not obvious ones)
  • Have a distraction-free environment
  • Use a land line phone if you can, and avoid wind if you’re using a cell phone
  • Get in a good mood before the call. (”Negativity or a uneasy attitude can easily show itself over a phone call. Before the interview, consider spending a few minutes listening to your favorite song or watching a funny video on YouTube.”)
  • Turn off call waiting, and if you can’t, DO NOT answer it! Also, avoid speaker phones
  • Dress the part (”[P]roperly dressing in at least a business-casual attire will make a big difference in your ability to focus on the interview.”)
  • Have some water nearby to keep your vocal cords lubricated
  • Listen, talk slowly and talk as articulately as possible (and allow for some awkward silences between questions;  it will happen.)
  • Stand up periodically (”Stretching out your torso will allow you to have the full strength of your lungs.”)
  • Practice answering common interview questions
  • Make sure to ask the interviewer’s name

And of course, follow up with a thank-you note.

Not sure what to do for the second interview? Read the article “How to Prepare for the Second Interview.”

[Image by aussiegal via Flickr CC 2.0]

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2 comments for “Phone-Interview Tips”

  1. Very good advice, I found the “Dress the Part” suggestion particularly useful. I would never have though of that, however it worked realy well for me. Many thanks.

    Posted by Karen | January 19, 2010, 11:23 am
  2. Glad we could help. We recently put together a tutorial on how to face several different job interview scenarios like the lunch interview, job fair interview and the increasingly common video-conference interview.

    Posted by John Hazard | January 19, 2010, 11:43 am

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