According to the most recent Career Thought Leaders Group, phone interviews are increasing in frequency and scrutiny. Accordingly, in addition to the initial phone screening, telephone interviews are being used more often to cut costs and save time during the hiring process.
Given its usage increase during the interview cycle, the consequence of improper phone etiquette can be damaging to your career. With this in mind, improving your phone interview odds can be gained by following these common-sense tips.
● Dressing up for your phone interview. I know it sounds a bit odd but it is a well-known fact that individuals “looking the part” perform more effectively than those in their pajamas.
● Researching the company, industry, and specific position. Besides doing a bit of company research on the Internet, a valuable job skills and responsibilities resource can be found at ONETOnline.org. Recognizing what’s out there in terms of products, competitors, and job opportunities will give the interviewer the perception that you know what you are talking about and that you are interested in the company and position.
● Engaging in the phone interview in a quiet area with limited (how about none) distractions. Remember the interviewer can’t see you or your physical reactions. As a result, the interviewer is seeking clues to help them determine if you are the right fit. For example, are dogs barking near your feet? Is a mother-in-law asking what you want for lunch? Are kids yelling in the background? Is street-rap blaring in the background? Noises and distractions in the background do create an impression, rarely a positive one.
● Being prepared for the “Tell me about yourself” question. When asked this question (or something like the “Why should I hire you” question) appreciate the question is designed for your benefit and is the ideal opportunity to sell yourself and the many contributions you bring. This is where company and job position research comes in handy as you develop a response based upon what the company needs, not a long-winded story about summer camp.
● Keeping a professional and calm tone. This is not the time to speak rapidly, too softly, or too loudly. Make sure your responses are heard at a comfortable level and not overtaking. Remember the interviewer is listening for clues of confidence, not cockiness.
● Asking a career coach, mentor, or family member to practice with you. When it comes to phone interview strategies, practice does make perfect. Don’t fight me on this, but when conducting a mock interview, dress and act the part.
No doubt companies are becoming more and more cost conscious and will expand the use of non-face-to-face interview methods. For the unprepared, this could be disastrous on many levels. But for those who have performed their due diligence, becoming one of the pack leaders can be obtained.
If you have questions or examples regarding phone interviews or any other career related issue, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
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