In today’s job market a phone interview is often the first step to landing a face-to-face interview. Yet most job seekers dread phone interviews. The lack of facial cues and body language tends to unnerve interviewees. If you agree, the following tips will help you feel more in control and confident for your next phone interview.
- Eliminate distractions. Choose your environment wisely. For best results, plan to interview at home in a room cut off from kids, TV and pets. Use a good quality land line and disable phone features such as call waiting.
- Print out these documents. The best thing about phone interviews is that you can have as many supporting documents handy as you need. Have your resume and the job description printed out. Consider including a list of your accomplishments that you can share. Additionally, you can have on hand a list of answers to the toughest questions you anticipate. For unplanned phone interviews, keep these documents within easy reach so they are readily available.
- Watch your own body language. The toughest thing about phone interviews is the lack of physical cues, but they will be able to “hear” the positive energy in your voice when you smile as you speak. Your voice will carry better when you sit up straight, or better yet, stand as you speak.
- Ask the right questions. Be prepared with a short list of questions to ask that will uncover your interviewer’s “hot buttons.” This will help you to hit the right selling points when you answer his or her questions. You’ll be less dependent on body-language cues when you already know what he wants to hear. Your questions might include:
- What qualities are you looking for?
- What are the most significant challenges of the position?
- Sell yourself. If you don’t sell yourself, you won’t be invited for the face-to-face interview. Specific examples are the best way to demonstrate how well you’ve done your job. Stories sell. Before the interview, practice talking about your best accomplishments. Don’t think of it as bragging. After all, potential employers are looking for people who can solve problems. If you don’t tell them how you’ve solved problems, they will never know that you are the best candidate for the job.
A face-to-face interview is the goal of the phone interview. Don’t be shy to ask to be included in the next phase of interviews. Let your enthusiasm for the employer and position come across loud and clear. Once you’ve aced your phone interview, you’ll be on your way to wowing them in person.
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Deborah Walker, CCMC, is a certified career management coach (CCMC). See more career tips and sample résumés here. You can reach her at 360-260-4965.