With many companies placing ads for jobs online and receiving hundreds of applicants for each position posted, phone interviews are more common than ever. In fact, if you plan to telecommute, there is a strong chance that you may never set foot inside a company’s headquarters. Communicating by phone, email, and webcam may be the only means of communication you ever use.
Regardless of whether you plan on working from home or an office, you will likely participate in a phone interview before an in-person interview. So, how do you ensure that your phone interview will lead to landing the job or that important second interview? Here are seven tips for knocking your next phone interview out of the park.
Clear the Line
You are one of hundreds of applicants. Don’t give the interviewer any reason to decide to move on to the next person in the queue. That means making sure that your phone reception is up to par. Use a landline rather than your cellphone. It might be old fashioned, but those copper wires are much more reliable than your cell phone.
Be Prepared to Interview
Preparation is everything. What would you take to an in-person interview? That is exactly what you should have on hand when the phone rings. Make sure you have a copy of your resume and a pen and paper in front of you. It does not hurt to reread your resume to remind yourself exactly what you said when you applied for the position.
Cut out the Distractions
Cut down all outside noise. Interviewers do not want to struggle to be heard over a vacuum or screaming child. Shut the door and turn off the TV before its time for your interview. Don’t give your interviewer any reason to cut the interview short.
Remember to Enunciate
Human beings hear with their eyes as well as their ears. They instinctively read lips while people are speaking. For obvious reasons, they cannot read your lips over the phone. Make sure that you are speaking clearly and distinctly during your interview. It doesn’t hurt to ask, “Can you hear me alright?” at the beginning of the interview.
Avoid Cracking Jokes
You may be renowned for your dry wit, but jokes fall flat without the nonverbal cues that let the audience know you are joking. When participating in a phone interview keep the jokes to a minimum. Save those great one liners for when you meet the interviewer in person.
Don’t Eat Lunch
Don’t eat on the phone. It’s just rude. You wouldn’t bring a sandwich to an in-person interview. You should not bring one to a phone interview. That’s not to say you cannot eat before the interview. Eating a snack beforehand can help you to maintain focus during the interview. It’s also a good idea to go ahead and use the restroom if you anticipate the interview taking a while.
Be Prepared to Ask Questions
An interview is not a one-way conversation. Yes, the interviewer will drive the conversation, but you should be prepared to ask your own questions about the position. Do not be afraid to ask about your duties, company culture, and the company’s plans for the future. Asking pertinent questions shows initiative and makes you stand out. Be careful when broaching the subject of compensation. That is better left until after you have an offer in hand.
The important thing to remember when interviewing over the phone is that it is an interview. Don’t do anything over the phone you would not do in person. If you keep that in mind, you will not have any problem avoiding costly mistakes and knocking you next phone interview out of the park.
Carol Sand is a career counselor for MAP Career Management Firm, and she offers skill assessments, resume tips, networking advice and more for job seekers in the Houston, TX area.
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Good luck in your search,