Saturday, August 18, 2012

Great Tips for Phone Interviews

You have just reached the interview stage of the job application process and are now expecting to meet your prospective employer not face-to-face, but through a telephonic interview.

These days, many companies and recruiters use phone interviews as the initial screening technique to pare down the number of candidates for any job opening. These interviews save cost and time for the company and are especially useful when an employer is considering out-of-town candidates. Whatever be the reason, at any point in your job searching process, you could be asked for a 20-30 minute phone interview. Like a face-to-face interview, you need to be prepared for a phone interview too.

Here are some great tips to help you with a phone interview:

Getting things ready before the interview
Have a physical copy of your resume and the job description ready. Perform your research about the company and the job. Make sure you have a pen, paper, calculator and your calendar. It is also wise to jot down a list of your strengths, skills and accomplishments related to the job. You should also compile, in advance, a list of questions you want to ask about the company and the job.

Dos and Don’ts of the Phone Interview
  • Introduce yourself when you pick up the phone and greet the interviewer with a good morning/afternoon.
  • Smile when you talk--it will reflect in your voice.
  • Speak directly into the phone.
  • Use a headset for interview; it would allow you to take notes easily while concentrating more.
  • Don’t eat, drink or chew anything during the interview.
  • Make sure you attend phone interview at a quiet place without any noise and distractions.
  • Stand up while talking if possible- it would make your voice strong and firm.
  • Listen with full concentration.
  • Avoid saying ‘ah, err, um’ during the conversation. These habits are more noticeable over the phone.
  • Avoid unnecessary pauses. It’s better to say ‘I am thinking about it’ or ‘Give me a minute to think’ than the unexpected heavy silence.
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
  • Make sure you attend the call instead of someone else.
  • Don’t forget to thank the interviewer before you hang up.

How to do well during the interview
  • Be succinct and give to-the-point answers while emphasizing your selling points. If you want to give the interviewer full details about your experience, ask him about it, for example, you could say ‘if you want I can provide you with more in-depth details regarding this.
  • Never lose your sight of the ultimate objective, which is, to proceed to the second stage of the interview process where you will face your interviewer. Make sure you show your confidence, enthusiasm and positive energy when you talk.
  • Make sure you are in your best frame of mind when you give an interview. Forget about what is going on around you and answer the questions with complete focus.
  • Phone interviews can be tricky as you are unable to judge the effectiveness of your responses due to the absence of face-to-face interaction. You should play it safe by asking leading questions such as: ‘ Does this answer your question?’ or ‘Would you like me to go into further details?’

After the Interview
Make sure you have the interviewer’s contact details with you so that you can send them a thank you note immediately. Your thank you note should reinforce your interest in the position, showing to the interview that you are an ideal candidate for the job.