Acing a Telephone Interview

In an attempt to cut costs, interview more out-of-town prospects and weed out the number of candidates that are brought in for an interview, companies are reverting to interviewing more and more people over the phone. Often times, the phone interview is the first step in a series of interviews that candidates must go through to get the job. And while many may think that phone interviews are easy and just a formality, not taking it seriously is likely going to take you out of the running for the job.

So we’d recommend that you take phone interviews as seriously as you would any other type of interview. Get into the right interview mindset and make sure you do your best to leave a positive impression as to why you’re the best person for the job. Acing that telephone interview can help set you up nicely for that even more important follow-up job interview.

So just how should you prepare to tackle a phone interview? Here are some tips to help you get in the right mindset for that 20-30 minute conversation you’re about to have.

Dress to impress: We know what you’re thinking – why dress up for a telephone job interview? Our answer – why not? Dressing up for a phone interview as you would for an in-person interview can help you get in the appropriate mindset. Think about this for a minute. You wear your pajamas when you want to be comfortable and relax. So if you leave your pajamas on for the phone interview, are you really going to be in the right mindset, mentally, to make a good impression? That’s why we recommend donning your formal wear, even if nobody else is going to see it. What’s more is that more and more phone interviews are being replaced by video chatting outlets like Skype, FaceTime and Google Chat. You don’t want a recruiter to spring that on you when you’re in your pajamas or sweat pants now, do you?

Choose the right room: Quiet and private – that’s the type of room you should be looking for when you’re about ready to do a telephone job interview. You should be as professional as possible, even if it’s just a phone interview, and nothing says “unprofessional” like your dog barking, your kids playing or the TV blaring in the background while an employer is trying to have a conversation with you. If you can’t get privacy anywhere in your house, we recommend going to a library or even doing the interview from your car.

Atmosphere: One more thing to think about is a combination to the above two points. Dressing to impress and choosing the right room for its privacy, you also want to dress the setting to impress as well. If your phone interview were to turn into a video chat, is the room you’re in and what can be seen behind and around you going to impress? If a potential employer sees a large stack of unruly paperwork, a sink full of dishes or an overloaded trash can – what they are really seeing is someone who doesn’t show attention to details. So think, take a look around and view your ‘interview space’ as a potential employer would and prepare accordingly. Location, Location, Location!

Practice: Practice makes perfect. It’s an old saying, we know. But it’s an accurate saying. So before you get ready for the big phone interview, come up with a list of questions you anticipate being asked and rehearse answering these questions over the phone with a friend or family member. Not only will this give you a chance to practice your answers, but it also allows you to play around with different phones to see which sound best to the person on the other end of the line. And as you practice, refrain from answering questions in a monotone voice. Employers like happy, enthusiastic and ambitious people – so be sure that your tone of voice portrays that.

Choose the right phone: To piggyback a bit off of the above point, make sure you’re choosing the best type of phone to hold the job interview on. We recommend landline phones, as they’re more reliable and less likely to disconnect while on a call. However, you may have no choice but to use a cellular phone. If that’s the case, make sure you hold the call from a part of your house that gets good reception. Nothing is more frustrating to an employer than your phone cutting in and out during the interview or your phone dropping the call all together, especially when such things are easily preventable.

Take notes: At the end of the phone interview, it’s likely that you will be given an opportunity to ask questions to the employer, as part of filling a job vacancy is making sure the position is a good fit for both parties. So ask questions and don’t be afraid to be curious. Ask about the work environment, the potential for growth in the company, the challenges the company faces and what the average work day is like there. Often times, such questions that you ask with segue into additional ways that you can highlight your experience and why you’d be an ideal candidate for the position. And if nothing else, asking questions shows your level of interest in the job.

Follow up: As your call concludes, you should obviously ask the employer what the next step in their hiring process is. After that, thank the employer for their time. But your work isn’t done, per say, after you hang up the phone. Send the employer an e-mail thanking them again for the time the next day. This is a very professional gesture and can help reinforce any positive impression the employer already had of you. What’s more is that it reminds them of how interested you are in the position that they are trying to fill. It’s never a bad idea to shoot the interviewer a follow-up “thank you” e-mail.

We here at PaydayLoansCashAdvance know how difficult it can be to land a job, especially in today’s economy which is still largely on the rebound from the 2008 economic recession. That’s why it’s important to make a great first impression. And more and more employers are turning to phone interviews to weed out candidates.

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