Telephone interviews are becoming more common it today's marketplace for a variety of reasons. Many hiring executives are over worked especially when they have an opening on their team which means they have more travel, meetings and deadlines which correlate to tighter schedules for interviewing. Many positions will also look at individuals outside of their local area making it more difficult and more expensive for a first round face to face interview. Whatever the reason, it is important to realize that telephone interview skills are different than those in a face to face environment and are just as important if you want to move forward in the process. It is important not to overlook a telephone interview as trivial. Here are a few tips to help you have successful telephone interviews:
The most important thing to remember about phone interviews is that there is no body language advantage to show your enthusiasm and interest, so you must let it be known in your tone and statements.
1) The main goal of a telephone interview is to move forward to a FACE to FACE interview.
2) Have your resume, paper, pen and a glass of water handy.
3) Take the call in a quiet area where there are no no distractions and disable “call waiting” if your phone has that service. On my phone it is *50 prior to the time you are expecting the call to disable and *51 to enable it back after the call. You will have to check with your service.
4) “SELL” what you know the interview needs. Make sure to go over the description ahead of the interview and have specific examples to pull from your background to support the requirements.
5) Mirror your interviewer’s voice: If he/she speaks fast, you speak at a comfortably fast pace—If he/she speaks slowly, you speak at a comfortably slow pace.
6) If you don’t understand a question, or wonder what they are really looking for, ask for an explanation.
7) Be aware of the length of your answers. Try not to speak more than 3 minutes without reengaging the interviewer
8) Don’t try to evade an answer. If you don’t know the answer, tell the interviewer you will find out the answer and call back.
9) If things sound good to you, say so, don’t play poker. The interviewer can’t see you, so he/she can’t read your body language. Ask the interviewer at the end of the conversation where you stand and what the next step is.(i.e. face to face, 2nd telephone interview, etc.)
10) Do not initiate a conversation regarding compensation! That is only appropriate at the end of a face to face meeting when the employer knows you and you know everything about the job and company. If he/she brings it up during the phone interview, feel free to discuss it, but keep it in general terms. Let the interviewer know you would be more willing to discuss compensation in person, after viewing the site and learning more about the job opportunity.
The interview is basically a verbal resume…with animation. Appropriate enthusiasm is absolutely necessary. If you like what you are hearing then let it show in your voice...its the only thing you have over the phone.