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Phone Interviews: The Dos and Don’ts of a Good Interview

smiling phone interview

Are you worried about an upcoming phone interview? Well, you are not alone! Telephone job interviews can be both useful as well as scary. From an employer’s point of view, screening a large number of potential job candidates via the phone can be a great time saver. There is no need to take a lot of time out to arrange physical job interviews or the need to sit through hours of interviewing one unsuitable candidate after another.

This is all well and good for the employer, but for the potential job candidate, the thought of being interviewed over the phone can cause a lot of anxiety and sleepless nights.

Lets take a look at the ways that a job candidate can handle the phone interview and some dos and don’ts that can help keep you off the reject list.

Do: Practice

Practice makes perfect, as they say. However, just because you can talk for hours at a time on the phone to your best friend doesn’t mean that your phone interview will be a breeze.

Brush up on your phone skills by having a few practice phone interviews with a close friend or family member. Remember that although the interviewer cannot see your face, they can still pick up your mood and personality from your conversation.

Do: Treat it like a real interview

While it may sound appealing to be able to take your phone interview while slouching at home in your pyjamas, this really doesn’t mentally prepare you for the gravity or importance of the phone call. You should still follow the same steps that you would take when preparing for a regular interview. This includes researching the company history and office culture, reading press releases and industry news features about the company.

You should also look into the types of questions that you may be asked and how to answer them clearly without hesitation. On the day itself, dress smartly as if you were attending in person. Find a quiet place where you can sit and take the call without any interruptions or distracting background noise. It is important that you can hear their questions clearly without having to ask for them to repeat themselves. It is also important that the interviewer can hear you clearly too.

Make sure you speak slowly and clearly with a smile on your face. Believe it or not, research has show that people can tell if you are speaking with a smile. Smiling can also help to make you feel more calm while you talk and can create a positive vibe and tone that can be picked up by the interviewer.

Don’t: Take the interview over speaker phone

Speaker phones are notoriously unreliable for giving clear feedback. There is a risk that any background noises can be picked up and amplified at the callers end. This can mean your interviewer gets muffled answers from you while listening to your neighbours hedge trimmer buzzing in the background, or your parents favourite TV show being played in the next room. Don’t risk the chance that your interviewer misunderstands one of your answers because they cannot hear you properly. This could mean the difference between making it to the second interview or being scratched completely off the list of job candidates.

Don’t: Get Distracted

Because you are not physically sitting in an interview room facing people, it can be very easy to become distracted by your surroundings, especially if you are taking your interview over the phone while at home.

You may think tucking the phone under your chin while you busily wash up a sink full of pots and pans is a good use of your time, but this is a no-no. It’s the same if you take the call while drinking coffee, or surfing the internet, or while reading Facebook. You need to be focused purely on your interview and the questions being asked of you if you are really serious about getting this job.

Do: Be prepared

While it may actually be helpful if you have a browser open on your laptop to enable you to do a quick search should you need to, especially if your interviewer asks you to look at the company website for some reason, keep your social media feed minimised or switched off.

Have a hard copy of your resume and cover letter printed out and placed on the table in front of you. This way it will be easy for you to read and expand on any sections of your resume that you may be asked about by your interviewer.

Hopefully, if you have done your company research and have prepared yourself well enough, you should be able to make it through to an interview in person with ease by using these tips.

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