Thursday, July 15, 2010

How to Prepare for a Telephone Interview

Human resources and hiring managers in recent years have found phone interviews to be an effective, cost-saving method of determining whether an applicant is a good fit. If the interview goes well, the applicant is then invited for an in-person interview. Phone interview candidates can be weeded out before the in-person process, saving both parties time.

Phone interviews can be stressful, given that applicants have never even seen the person of power on the other end of the phone. It’s not possible to read body language or facial expressions, which help applicants to gauge how well they are doing. Everything weighs on the applicant’s voice. It’s not possible to get by on looks or a great smile. Therefore, it’s important to focus on mental preparation. These tips, however, will help applicants prepare mentally and physically.

Mental Preparation: First of all, it’s crucial to treat the interview with the same importance and preparation as an in-person interview. Everyone going into an interview knows the main questions that are always asked. “What can you tell us about yourself?” “Where do you see yourself in five years?” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Just when one thinks these questions won’t be asked, they will be. It’s also important to know as much about the position as possible, and how past experiences can be used to perform the job. Lastly, a clear, well-rested mind is necessary to be able to provide the best answers to any kind of question.

Physical Preparation: This section refers to the area from which you will be giving the interview. The first thing to have nearby is a resume copy and a list of accomplishments and experiences particularly relevant to the position. Pen and paper are helpful, in order to take notes. Set out a glass of water, in case of parched throat. However, it’s not appropriate to be eating or chewing gum during an interview. Find a space in the home where there will be absolutely no noises or distractions from family, pets or electronics.

Practice Interviewing: Sure, talking on the phone is cinch, right? Maybe with friends, but in a phone interview everything has to be perfect. As mentioned earlier, the only thing the interviewer gets is a voice. Therefore, it’s pertinent to make sure that all words are enunciated properly and clearly, slang is omitted and proper grammar is used. Once speech is adjusted, have a friend or family member give you a practice interview and record it to see how it sounds. Make adjustments from there.

Last Minute Things to Remember Before the Phone Call
·       Even though the interviewer doesn’t see faces, it’s possible to tell when someone is smiling over the phone. Smiling alters voice tone and creates a positive image.
·       Never interrupt the interviewer.
·       Avoid saying “errrrm” or other utterances that add no value to the conversation. It’s OK to take a moment to think before you answer.
·       Make the answers short and to the point. Talking on and on does not impress anyone. If the interviewer wants a further explanation, he or she will ask for it.
·       Turn off call-waiting on your phone, so that no distractions are possible.

About the Author:

Guest author, Roger Collings runs his own telecoms consultancy from the UK and uses his knowledge to make sure that people get the right business telephone systems for their needs. With a wealth of knowledge on various technology and communications subjects, his expertise means that his articles are published around the Internet.

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