Hold the Phone: How to Ace a Telephone Interview

March 06, 2014

The business world is busier than ever and as a result, many hiring managers are holding telephone interviews before inviting a candidate to the office for an in-person interview. Instead of discounting the importance of wooing someone via telephone, follow these tips for acing a telephone interview:

1. Act like it’s an in-person interview: Do the same research you normally would complete for an in-person interview and prepare interview questions and answers. Practicing the interview over the phone with someone sounds a little strange, but it will help you get the feel for the flow of conversation beforehand.

2. Test your telephone voice: By practicing how you speak over the phone, you’ll come across in the interview sounding clear and at the right volume. Introduce yourself, answer questions confidently and avoid rambling or sounding monotone.

3. Eliminate background noise: Some of the biggest feedback from hiring managers when discussing phone interviews is related to background noise and distractions. Ensure you can complete the interview in a quiet space – not while driving your car or in a busy coffee shop. This often gives off the impression that the interviewee is multi-tasking and not setting aside time for the interview – aka it’s not a priority.

4. Have the right documents handy: Have your resume, the job description, reference list, letters of recommendations and a list of questions on hand before you dial in to your interview. By having them out in front of you and clearly visible (as you would with an in-persona interview) you’ll be more prepared and able to answer questions swiftly and efficiently.

5. Listen & think before you speak: Sit back and allow the hiring manager to take the lead during the phone interview. Listen carefully and answer the question fully before jumping to the next topic. As you would in a standard in-person interview, avoid tangents and never interrupt the interviewer.

6. Finish your interview with class: Asking questions at the end of an over-the-phone interview is almost more important than doing so at an in-person interview. When sitting down face-to-face, the interviewer can read your body language to see if you’re engaged in the conversation; during a telephone interview that’s not the case. Have a list of questions prepared that reiterate your interest in the position and demonstrate your commitment to the hiring process.

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