Telephone interviews have become more popular as a way to start the interview process. It can be challenging to keep an interviewer engaged and ensure they are satisfied with your responses when you don’t have the advantage of body language cues. If you’ve never had a telephone interview, it can feel even more intimidating. With the right preparation (which will build your confidence) your telephone interview can be very successful. The following tips will help you be prepared for your interview.
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Where you are when you have your telephone interview is as important as how well you prepare. Ensure you are in a quiet location (no dogs barking or babies crying). While you may think you have a great location, do a dry run and visit the location at the same time of day as the telephone interview. This will allow you to check out everything prior to your call.
2. Do Your Homework:
Once you know the details of your telephone interview (company, hiring manager, etc.) it’s time to do your homework. Now is the time to find out every detail possible, from what the company does, how they do it and why, right down to dress code if you can. Leverage sites such as LinkedIn (both for the company info and hiring manager) as well as sites like glassdoor.com. Explore recent publications, financial results (see what the analysts say about the company), social media outlets and email newsletters. Find someone in your network who worked at the company or who knows someone who worked at the company.
3. Review Your Documents:
You have a huge advantage with a telephone interview. You can have whatever documents you want/need right in front of you. Take the time to refresh your memory with the details of your resume. Focus on the experience that interested the hiring manager enough to give you an interview. Treat the entire process like a face to face interview but remember they have nothing to go on except the information you share with them so make sure it’s up to scratch. As mentioned above, you lack the advantage of being able to use (or see) body language, a firm handshake and eye contact, so you need to portray this through your voice as much as is professionally possible.
4. Have your List of Questions:
Asking the right questions (and answering the hiring manager’s questions) is key to any interview. Do not underestimate the importance to listening to the questions/comments and responding in a way that gives the hiring manager confidence that you can do the job. In terms of your “telephone voice”, sound professional but enthusiastic, don’t talk too quickly and try to articulate yourself fully and politely. If the conversation is a little stunted adapt to situation by perhaps asking questions and don’t worry if you need to briefly pause and gather your thoughts.
5. Stick to Your Plans:
If for whatever reason you are unable to take the call, make sure you call them back as soon as you can, give a valid reason and reschedule. Although you might have a small advantage with longer to prepare, only reschedule as a last resort. It is surprising how many people will make excuses for rescheduling.
6. Take Notes:
Take notes during the interview so that you can followup on key points either during the interview, in follow-up interviews or in your thank you note (yes, thank you notes are still very important).
7. Check Your Phone Logistics:
There is nothing worse than starting a telephone interview and discovering you have little or no cell signal. Or maybe the area you picked for your call is very noisy with lots of background noise. Scope out the area where you plan to take your call. Check you cell signal and noise level. Ensure there is a place for you to take notes and to place your documents.
Interviews are designed for both parties to get the other talking, to find out more about each other and see whether they would fit well into the company. Natural conversation can sometimes be a lot easier on the phone if you’ve done all of your research and plan ahead. Take everything as an experience and practice will make perfect!
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