Due to globalization of the economy, more and more employers are now interested in cross-border hiring where an initial phone interview holds huge importance. For obvious reasons, it is your only chance to make an impression on your interviewer. While some employers choose Skype to screen potential new hires, majority of them still believe in scouting potential candidates over the phone. You may think phone interview is easier than in-person interview as no one will judge you on your physical action. But you are wrong. Phone interview is equally tough. You only have your voice to convince the employer that you are a worthy choice. So before you say ‘hello’ to a potential employer, follow these 19 tips to bring your A-game.
The following tips are categorized in three different sections: pre-interview tips, interview tips and post-interview tips to make you understand how you should turn things in your favor, and end it with a good note. No matter, you are a fresher or professional, these tricks can do wonder for everyone.
Video on Phone Interview
1. Before the Interview
Follow the list of measures you should take before the interview takes place.
Take a few days to get prepared for a phone interview. Invest one day on researching about the company: find out everything that you need to know and more. On the next day, create a list of questions that you want to place before the employer like ‘what specific qualifications you are looking for in a candidate?’ or ‘how do you see this job profile contributing to the success of the company?’ The employer will appreciate the fact that you are interested in the prosperity of the organization.
Take care of the basics:
Before the interview day, you need to nix any noise in interruptions like barking dogs, crying children or car horns. Inform everyone in the house that you have an interview fixed and you need a quiet place for talking. If you are living with roomies, talk to them before so that they can clear the room.
Use a landline:
If possible, use a landline for taking and making interview call. If not, make sure your cell phone is fully charged and the network is at its best in the place from where you plan to take/make the call. The reason is a cell phone is less reliable choice because of its frequent call drop problem. If you get disconnected during the interview, immediately give your interviewer a callback.
Use radio as a prep tool:
Listen to radio talk shows. Whether it is Cosmo on Sirius FM or NPR, you are required to note the voice modulation of the hosts: the tone they are using, how they are pitching their voice. By doing so, you may learn how to create mental pictures for listeners/interviewers.
Remember the 3Cs:
Concision: Phone interviews take less time than in-person interviews so you have to be prompt with your answers. Keep your responses not more than three sentences.
Concentration: Stay focused during the interview. If possible, take notes of the important numbers, figures and facts. If you are tempted to do multitasking like replying to your mail while giving the interview, your responses will not be to the point. And your interviewer will understand you are distracted.
Courtesy: Be professional and polite. At the end of the call, ask when you can meet the interviewer in person. And remember, no matter how the interview goes, always say ‘thank you’ at the end. The reason is the last few words of the conversation are most remembered.
Have your resume printed:
Take a hard copy of your resume, and keep it in front of you during the interview call. The employer may ask you some tricky questions on what you have written in your resume so it is important that you have a printout of your resume to the take the cue.
Disable extra phone features:
If you are using a landline, turn off all phone accessories like call waiting or answering machine on additional landline. If you are using a cell phone, disable all notifications from Facebook, Whatsapp, mails etc. The noises can distract you and sabotage your chances of moving the interview process further.
2. During the Interview:
Here is a list of precautions you need to take while taking the interview calls.
Even though you are probably taking the call while slouching on your couch, you need to play along. Ditch your rumbled tees, messy hair, dress like you have a real in-person interview. A research has found that people sound more confident in formal clothing. Your tone, attitude and word choice automatically alter when you are in business clothing.
Have web access:
Have the company website open in front of you. Open another window in your browser, so that you can search anything swiftly when needed. Be sure you do not let the interviewer hear you are typing.
Smile as much as you can:
Put up the best smiling face of yours because smiling when you speak reflects your positive energy and excitement in your voice. Since they cannot see your lovely face, they will pay extra attention to your voice. When the interviewer hears you smile, they will think positive about you. So give your best shot and smile like you are in Disneyland.
Engage the interviewer in conversation:
No one likes a person whose answers are very robotic and monotonous. You need to enjoy the conversation with the interviewer. Only answering to their questions and occasional nodding will not help you to leave a mark on the interviewer’s mind. So engage in a friendly conversation rather than answering the questions like you are being held at gunpoint.
Have a loud and clear voice:
Always have a clear voice while talking to the interviewer. Speak clearly so your interviewer can hear and understand you properly. Keep a bottle handy in case your mouth gets dry while talking.
Correct your body language:
Everyone has different phone habits. Some like to walk around, some sit like a statue. Find a comfortable position and pay attention to your body language. Hold your body in the upright position and also use your hands to express. If you are that person who is on the move during a phone call, give yourself an enclosed area big enough so that you avoid wandering from room to room.
Demonstrate you are enthusiastic:
You are always welcome to ask questions about different aspects of the job and the qualification that one needs. Your interviewer will note that you are genuinely excited about the opportunity. Tell your interviewer about your distinct qualifications that make you stand out.
Avoid discussing money:
When talking to your employer for the first time, it is better that you sit tight about salary questions. The first interview call is about making the impression on your interviewer. You can save the nitty-gritty of money matter for the later interview. If you interviewer brings up the salary question, you should be honest with your answers.
A benefit of the phone interview is that you can use a cheat sheet. It’s like using books during exams. Have a list of few thoughtful questions in front of you. The questions you want to ask to your potential employer.
Wait three seconds before answer:
When the interviewer asks you a question, remember to wait for three seconds before you respond to the question. It shows that you are thinking before answering. Rather than rushing to fill the silence gap, you can wait for three seconds longer to organize your thoughts. This will also help you avoid the awkward possibility of speaking to him/her.
End with a strong note:
It is the second most vital part of the interview. When you know the conversation is drawing to its end, thank your interviewer for his/her time and consideration. Then ask what should be the next steps of the process. If the person hesitates, then you are probably not going to get face-to-face interview. Finally tell, why you are interested in the job position, and what are your qualifications to match the job profile. Sometimes the middle portion of the interview where you highlighted your qualifications gets erased from the interviewer’s mind. So it is a good idea to highlight your top three strengths at the end.
3. After the Interview:
When you complete the interview call, make sure you follow the steps to elevate the chances of your selection in your target organization.
Follow up with thanks:
A day or two after the interview, send your interviewer an email summarizing the interview and restating your interest along with handwritten note expressing your gratitude. Since the person is conducting interviews with various other candidates, you may want to remain up-front and center.
These are the best tips to owning a phone interview. We hope that these tips will guide you through your telephonic interview. And do not lose confidence for a single moment; believe that you have every chance to get called for the face-to-face round.
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