The successful telephone interview

November 7, 2011 – Most companies schedule the first job interview by telephone, rather than in person.

The telephone interview is  typically conducted by an HR recruiter, whose job it is to weed out candidates before scheduling face-to-face interviews with hiring managers. Therefore, a telephone interview is one of the most important steps on the road to the job offer.

On the surface, interviewing by telephone may seem easier than in-person. However, it does present its own challenges; it’s not as easy, for example, to project your personality over the phone, and that’s crucial when trying to make a good impression.

Here are five tips courtesy of Candace Davies at communicationsjobs.net to help you along the way:

1. Eliminate distractions. Make sure you are in a quiet place away from people, TV, pets, etc. If you have a home office, use it and close the door. Not only will these things distract you, but the interviewer may also hear them through the phone and find them distracting or, if they hear a TV for instance, wonder how seriously you are taking the interview. So, by eliminating distractions you will be able to keep 100% focused on your interview.

2. Make a conscious effort to be energetic and smile while speaking. This will project into your voice and make you sound warmer and friendlier. Your goal should be to convey to the interviewer that you are an upbeat and outgoing person. In a phone interview, all an interviewer has to go on regarding your personality is your voice. So you want to convey your enthusiasm, professionalism, optimism, and friendliness through the phone. Also, pay close attention to your tone because a note of irritation or frustration in your voice will be much more noticeable over the phone.

3. You are apt to get a lot of scripted questions in a phone interview, so try to answer each question in a way that is specific to that industry or position. Your goal should be to show how your set of skills and work philosophy will benefit the specific position. So during your preparation, read up on the company to find out their goals, objectives, and mission. During your interview, you can also have notes on the company and industry in front of you to utilize when necessary.

4. Try to make a personal connection with the interviewer. This can seem harder over the phone but is necessary to make a lasting impression. You are trying to market yourself to the interviewer, so try to talk about how your specific skills and personality will solve any problems that the company is facing or how you will fit in with the culture. Attempt to change the tone of the interview from a question-answer situation to a discussion of the present situation of the company and what you can bring to the table to improve things.

5. Be confident and leave the interview with an open invitation to continue talking. Express interest in continuing the conversation at a later date. This will help the interviewer to remember that they will want to get to know you better.

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