The Phone Interview
The Phone Interview

First impressions are important, even if that first impression is over the phone.  Standard practice in hiring, more often than not, includes a pre-screening phone interview that will be your first opportunity to sell yourself.

Preparing for the Call

Alexandra Klotz, Lead Recruiter and Account Manager at Absolute Staffing & Consulting Solutions, says that phone interviews can make or break your chances at a job.

Without the communication of non-verbal clues, phone interviews are limited in how much they can convey to a potential employer.  That’s why it’s important to be prepared.  Don’t think of it as a quick phone call.  Be in a quiet location with plenty of time set aside for the call. Be sure to smile, sit up straight and respond with a professional demeanor.

Kim Burrier, Marketing Specialist at Absolute Staffing & Consulting Solutions, says “In the same way that customer service reps are encouraged to smile on the phone, interviewees should be smiling as well.  A smile can be heard through the lines and it truly makes a difference on how you’re perceived.”

She goes on to recommend that interviewees should dress the part so that they are feeling confident and professional during the call.

Although the interviewer won’t see your body language, you should sit tall and emit confidence. Your tone of voice sounds much more professional if you are situated in a professional pose instead of lounging in your favorite recliner.  If possible, you also want to use a landline so that you don’t risk cell service becoming shoddy during this important call.

Alex recommends taking the time to have a friend practice mock phone calls with you.  Better yet, record the call.  By listening to yourself, you can check for tone and be on the lookout for “Umms” or “Uhhhs.  This will allow you to pinpoint the questions that you struggle with so that you can fine-tune your answers.

Step 1- Nail the Greeting

The first step is to nail the greeting.  Many believe that the outcome of the phone interview hinges on the first 15 seconds of the call.  Answering with “Hello?” is exactly the wrong thing to do.  Introduce yourself during these first few critical moments and show that you remembered the time of the call and that you are in a place where you can talk.

Alex recommends the following:

Answer with confidence and preparedness:“Hello, this is [Brian].”

The interviewer will likely say:“Hi [Brian], this is [Jim Smith] calling from [ABC Company].”

Repeat the interviewers name:“Hi [Jim]. It’s nice to meet you. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today.”

By following this example, you are able to show that you are focused completely on the interview, that you are listening and are ready for the conversation.

Step Two- Know your stuff

Speak clearly regarding the position you are applying for and be sure you know a little about the company.

Read the company’s website before the phone interview to be sure you clearly understand the organization’s mission and goals.  Know what you are talking about and show the interviewer that you have done your homework, you have initiative and you have a strong desire to be considered for the position.

Step Three- Ending the Call

Most interviewers end the call by asking if you have any questions.  While this is not the time to ask everything, you can have a list of a few questions in order to show your interest in the position.  Be sure to take notes throughout your call as this will help you prepare for a potential in-person interview.  Most interviewees will take this time to ask about next steps in the hiring process.

Before you hang up, thank the interviewer by name and tell them to let you know if they have any additional questions.

When the call is finally over you have one last step, the worst part…the wait!  If you follow all these tips you should have no trouble securing that in-person interview!

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