Telephone Interviews

More and more, employers are using the telephone interview for initial employee screening in place of face-to-face encounters. It is cheaper, faster, and easier than in-person interviews. As a job hunter, you need to be ready.

Be Prepared

You do not need to accept an unexpected, on-the-spot telephone interview. If a company calls you and asks to do a telephone interview right away, explain that, while you are delighted to hear from them, you want to be able to give them your undivided attention and would prefer to schedule a time, even if it is just an hour later.

Have all the necessary information at your fingertips: your resume, company research notes, and any additional documents. Have your computer booted up and a quiet place to talk.

Things to remember: You can hear a smile at the other end of the phone—it warms your voice, making you sound friendly and more interesting. Dress the part. Telephone interviewing is like broadcasting: your answers should be crisp, clear and immediate.

Telephone interview basics:

  1. Speak in a normal conversational volume, using more emphasis, excitement and accentuated punctuation.  Talking loudly on the phone is like emailing someone in all caps — it’s rude and you cannot tell what’s most important. Practice your volume with someone.
  2. Do your research about the company, in advance, to indicate your enthusiasm and interest in the organization. Practice your answers. Write down important points to cover with keywords highlighted from your resume and matching the job description.
  3. Stand up or put your interviewing materials at eye level. Doing so increases your energy level. Standing better supports your diaphragm and your voice. Having the materials in front of you prevents you from looking down, making your voice stronger.
  4. Use a mirror to see yourself smiling.

Finally, ask the employer questions about the job and the organization to show interest in the job. If you do wish to continue in the hiring process, say so, ask what the next steps are and request a meeting in person. As always, thank the interviewer for their time. Obtain the correct spelling of their name, title, and mailing address (or email) and send a thank you note for the interview.

Adapted from an article by David Singer.  David Singer is a Freelance Consultant on Human Resources to Industry and Government.

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