Having an interview is tough. Having an interview over the phone can be even more stressful. For one, you can’t read body language and that’s a difficult obstacle to overcome. On top of that, it’s easy to feel ‘off your game’ when you’re not sitting in an office with your best business attire on and a portfolio in hand. If you have a phone interview coming up, consider the following tips when preparing:
Prepare ahead of time:
If you think a phone interview isn’t a ‘real’ interview, you are going in with the wrong mindset. Prepare for this screen just as you would for a regular in-person interview. This means practicing your responses to common interview questions, reviewing your resume to ensure you can handle an in-depth conversation about your background and skills, compiling questions for the interviewer, and researching the prospective employer.
Use a land-line:
Unless a cell phone is your only option, consider using a land-line. This will reduce the probability of a dropped call, static, or poor reception.
Dress the part:
Confidence is key during an interview. One way to get into the proper frame of mind is to mimic your activities for an in-person interview. Wearing nice clothing, having a clean copy of your resume to refer to as well as a pen and paper for notes, and getting out of bed are all ways to prepare yourself mentally for the task at hand.
Clear the room:
About 15 minutes prior to your scheduled phone interview, remove yourself from any distractions – food, traffic noises, children, pets, or a television. Ensure that you are in a good space that will foster concentration and eliminate interruptions.
Smile while you talk:
It may sound cliche, but a smile can be heard in your voice. Since your body language is limited, you must ensure that your enthusiasm and energy are portrayed through your speech. A smile is a surefire way to do this without overdoing it.
Think it out:
When asked a question, it is okay to take a moment or two to think about the question and to formulate a complete response before answering. This will minimize unconscious rambling and ensure that you have direct and concise answers. It is equally important to speak slowly and to enunciate clearly when responding. (It’s also ok if the interviewer takes a moment after you answer, they may be taking notes or preparing their next question.)
The goal from a phone interview is to get to the next step – a face-to-face meeting. Be sure to follow up with a thoughtful thank you letter that expresses both your gratitude for the interviewer’s time as well as your interest in the role.
For additional tips, read: 17 Tips to Ace Your Next Phone Interview: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2011/06/14/17-tips-to-ace-your-next-phone-interview 6 Steps to Nailing a Job Interview… Over the Phone: http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/10/23/6-steps-to-nailing-a-job-interview-over-the-phone/