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Great Tips for Phone Interviewing

Hello fellow MTM readers.  As you guys know, I will be getting laid off on June 15th, which is right around the corner.  As a result, I’ve been trying to get out and there and start interviewing…that’s not going so well, but that’s another story.  Anyway, not too long ago I had an interview over the phone with a prospective company.  It went pretty well….or so I thought.  I actually haven’t heard back from them.  I guess that means I won’t be getting the job!  It doesn’t matter because what’s for me is for me….right?

If you’ve never experienced an interview over the phone then that can be sorta scary…well for some…like me!   That was my first time ever so it only gets better from here.

I’ve gathered some tips, for you and me…lol, to go by when interviewing over the phone:

Be Prepared to Interview

Prepare for a phone interview just as you would for a regular interview. Compile a list of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as a list of answers to typical phone interview questions. In addition, plan on being prepared for a phone conversation about your background and skills.

  • Keep your resume in clear view, on the top of your desk, or tape it to the wall near the phone, so it’s at your fingertips when you need to answer questions.
  • Have a short list of your accomplishments available to review.
  • Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.
  • Turn call-waiting off so your call isn’t interrupted.
  • Clear the room – evict the kids and the pets. Turn off the stereo and the TV. Close the door.

Practice Interviewing

Talking on the phone isn’t as easy as it seems. I’ve always found it’s helpful to practice. Have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview and tape record it so you can see how you sound over the phone. Any cassette recorder will work. You’ll be able to hear your “ums” and “uhs” and “okays” and you can practice reducing them from your conversational speech. Also rehearse answers to those typical questions you’ll be asked.

During the Phone Interview

  • Don’t smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink.
  • Do keep a glass of water handy, in case you need to wet your mouth.
  • Smile. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice.
  • Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
  • Use the person’s title (Mr. or Ms. and their last name.) Only use a first name if they ask you to.
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
  • Take your time – it’s perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to collect your thoughts.
  • Give short answers.
  • Remember your goal is to set-up a face-to-face interview. After you thank the interviewer ask if it would be possible to meet in person.

After the Interview:

  • Take notes about what you were asked and how you answered.
  • Remember to say “thank you.” Follow with a thank you note which reiterates your interest in the job.

Have you ever had an interview over the phone?  If so, how did it go?