Looking for a new career? Your phone interviewing skills could be the deciding factor in getting a live interview. The phone interview is “KEY” to your job campaign success.
Think of the phone interview as a first date. Going out for an ice cream is a great first date: cheap, easy and non-committal. If the “ice cream” date goes well, then you may want to spend more time and money on the person so you move on to a dinner or a movie date.
A phone interview is an easy, cost effective way for a company to say, I’m interested in talking with you – Similar to an ice cream date. If a company really loves you – the organization would schedule a formal “face to face “ interview in the office, spend more time and money on you.… similar to a movie or dinner date. Only if you make a great “phone interview“ impression will you get a second date.
Here are tips to improve your phone interviewing skills:
Be Yourself – At Your Best – Do not try to be the person you think the interviewer wants you to be; instead be the person you actually are.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare. All great accomplishments have their foundation in carefully thought-out preparation. Phone interviews are a lot like open-book test- you can have all your information (resume, cover letters, etc.) right in front of you.
Use a land line, and disable call waiting. Interruptions caused by dropped or incoming calls just add stress you don’t need.
Have a list of questions prepared. Well-thought-out questions show you’re really interested in the company and the job. Also, have your resume in front of you. Make sure it’s the same version the interviewer has.
Listen, Think, Speak. It is important to listen to what the interviewer has to say, and then think before responding. Take a few seconds to understand the question, and then prepare a quality answer before simply blurting out something less intelligent.
Never interrupt. Silently count to two or three seconds after the interviewer stops talking before you start.
Ask about next steps. At the end of the call, ask how well your qualifications meet the company’s needs. This will give you a chance to address minor issues immediately. Then ask when you can meet with them in person.
Say thanks. Follow up with an e-mail or a handwritten note. While you’re at it, briefly remind the interviewer how your skills and achievements can help the company meet its goals.
A few more suggestions…
Wear business attire. Of course the interviewer can’t see you, but sound, as businesslike in your pajamas and pink slippers.
Say How You Feel. The easiest way to let someone know how you feel is to say it. This completely eliminates any confusion in a conversation – especially a phone conversation. “ I am very excited about this position”
Have a photo of your interviewer on your computer screen. This could be from LinkedIn, Facebook, the company website, or anywhere else your interviewer’s face might appear online. It makes the interview a little more like an in-person conversation.
Avoid saying “um” or “ah.” Try replacing those sounds with a pause. If you are still having trouble you may want to join Toastmasters International.
Take notes. Jot down topics and questions that seem to be of particular interest to the person interviewing you, so you can touch on these when you send your thank-you.
Most important item I tell my clients “Do Not Give Up”…there is no such thing as giving up on your job search. I can guarantee you will find a job. I just don’t know when, where or how much.