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Phone interview cheat sheet: 10 tips to phone interview success


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In a phone interview, you typically have just two assets – your voice and your preparation!

Often you are given the opportunity to prepare for a telephone interview, but sometimes they come out of the blue when you answer your phone!

Since you may not know when to expect the telephone interview, it is critical that you do not wait to begin preparing for the interview until you have the interview. You have to accomplish your goal – selling yourself, your skills, your experience, and your value – with nothing but what comes out of your mouth.

Published in: Recruiting & HR
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Phone interview cheat sheet: 10 tips to phone interview success

  1. 1. How To Win The Phone Interview. Phone Interview Cheat Sheet: 10 Tips To Phone Interview Success.
  2. 2. 1. Know whether you can take the call when it comes.
  3. 3. Hopefully, you’ll be able to schedule the call for a time when you can focus completely. Of course, you need to feel the interviewer out; if he hesitates to schedule another time, you might want to plunge forward and do the best you can, considering you might not be getting another opportunity to present yourself.
  4. 4. 2. Have the documentation you need at your fingertips.
  5. 5. Having easy access to the company and job information will allow you to confidently respond to questions without fumbling regarding which job you are talking about. So have a copy of both the job description and a copy of the resume or application you submitted in front of you before the interview starts.
  6. 6. 3. Know your answers to common questions.
  7. 7. Brief “yes” and “no” responses will not move a telephone interview forward, but will end it quickly. So, start by practicing your answers to the common interview questions now so that you are ready when the unplanned telephone interview occurs.
  8. 8. 4. Smile while on the phone.
  9. 9. Place a mirror by the phone, and make a point of looking into it and smiling while you are talking on the phone. Start now, so you can become comfortable with it. You will find that you sound more upbeat and engaged when you do this. Your smiles will be “heard” by the interviewer making for a positive impression.
  10. 10. 5. Share your portfolio in advance.
  11. 11. Imagine this: The interviewer asks you to describe a challenge you have faced. Ask if the interviewer has access to the Internet. If the answer is yes, suggest the interviewer visit your web portfolio or LinkedIn profile (URL’s hopefully on your resume), and have them click on your project highlights page. There, the interviewer will see what you have made public, perhaps an outline of key projects and a terrific graph that expresses your results.
  12. 12. 6. Focus on your language and voice.
  13. 13. Again, you can only go on the power of your voice in a telephone call. Speak clearly, stay upbeat, and use positive language. Smiling (4, above) will help. Try to take cues from the interview (does he or she speak slowly and softly or fast and loud?) and modulate your own tone and word choice to make a positive impression.
  14. 14. 7. Avoid selfish questions during the interview.
  15. 15. Now is not the time to ask about benefits or salary. Initial interviews, until you have an offer, are about selling yourself to the employer until you are the key applicant they want to hire. You do not have any power until that time and will just show that your emphasis is not on being a good fit but just on what is in it for you.
  16. 16. 8. Don’t hang up without asking for the next step plus contact information.
  17. 17. The interviewer is bringing the call to an end but there has been no talk of a next step. Speak up! Express your enthusiasm for moving forward and ask about the next step. If an in- person interview is not scheduled at the end of the call, find out when you can follow up with the employer. Be sure to ask for contact information (name, phone number, and email address) of the person who will be your contact.
  18. 18. 9. Disable extra phone features.
  19. 19. Call waiting, texts, blips and bleeps. These noises and vibrations can be a distraction and embarrassment, sabotaging your chances of moving the interview process forward. If you don’t know how to shut these off, now is the time to figure it out - not during the call.
  20. 20. 10. Say thank you, in writing.
  21. 21. Sure, it was a telephone interview, but that is no reason for not taking the time to exercise simple but powerful courtesies. Write a thank you letter, and mail it, unless your main communication has been through email with the interviewer. Don’t just say thank you but make a point of reiterating strengths and value for the position.
  22. 22. Find more ways to win a job at: