Friday, January 28, 2011

Mastering the Phone Interview in Your Job Hunt

Ah, the phone interview. More and more you're probably getting requests for a preliminary phone interview before you actually meet someone in a face to face interview - which are happening less and less.

While phone interviews can be slightly less nerve-racking than looking a real person in the eye, a lot of tension can still arise as you're sitting and waiting for that phone to ring. All in all, though, they aren't all that different from the usual job interview.

Here's some quick tips to keep in mind for when that calls come through and it's time to answer.

1. Ready, Set, Talk
It's a little obvious, sure, but set some time aside for the interview. Typically, they're about 30 minutes or so. Make sure you're in a quiet, private space, and there aren't going to be any distractions around.

2. It Takes Less Effort to Smile Than It Does To Bomb an Interview
Even though no one is there to see you, make sure you answer the phone with a smile and you keep it on your face as much as you can throughout the call. Smiling with make you seem more pleasant, whether you realize it or not.

3. Do Your Homework
Like any interview, take the time to do some research about the company you're interviewing with before the call. The golden rule is at the least (the very least, mind you) a half an hour of solid research and reading to get an idea of what the company is about for each interview. It'll help you with the inevitable questions that will come at the end.

4. Watch Your Mouth
No, not that rule; that's too obvious. We're talking about smoking, chewing gum, mints, biting nails, eating - all are unacceptable phone interview behaviors. However, it is a good habit to have a glass of water on hand in case your throat gets a little parched.

5. It's Not That Often You Get To Use Crib Notes in an Interview
But in a phone interview, you have that opportunity. After you've done your research, write down some questions and other talking points that you want to bring up. You can even use your computer and have their company website up, along with any marketing materials or social media resources they might have on the Internet. It's not good to rely on resources you have in front of you or read from a script, but it could be helpful to have a couple of things at the ready.

6. Remember How You're Parents Always Told You to Say 'Thank You'...
Yeah, that was good advice. Even though it's a phone interview and you said it at the end of the call, (or at least you should have) after the interview, write a quick e-mail or thank you note to whomever you interviewed with.

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