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How to Excel on a Phone Interview

Have you ever had a phone interview? Every interview can be a little nerve wracking, but a phone interview can be particularly terrifying. Like calling a crush for the first time, it can put your stomach in knots. If you’re nervous about this type of interview, don’t panic. The following tips will give you a head start on how to be a success.

Be prepared. The first thing to remember is you have to treat phone interviews like you would face-to-face interviews. Be sure to research the company ahead of time and practice answering interview questions beforehand. A great advantage is that when you are interviewing over the phone, you can have a cheat sheet of important facts right in front of you. In addition to a cheat sheet, keep your resume or an outline with different points you will like to cover close by during the interview. Having the right information in front of you can be a great reference to help you answer potential employers’ questions.

Dress the part. Just because you’re not going to be seen during an interview doesn’t mean you should stay in bed during the call. Take a shower, get dressed, and present yourself as though you were expecting a guest. Your appearance will determine the way you communicate during an interview. If you interview looking like you just rolled out of bed, chances are, you will sound like that over the phone.

Conduct a sound check. Just like you should dress the part for an interview, you also need to sound the part. Also, warm up your voice with a phone call to a friend if your interview is early in the morning so you sound awake and alert. Remember, you can’t communicate non verbal cues over the phone, so having an enthusiastic and professional tone in your voice will go a long way to make a great impression. Be sure to enunciate, speak audibly, and exaggerate voice inflection when necessary. Since you’re probably having a conversation with this interviewer for the first time, don’t speak too fast. Take your time to get your message across, and ask for clarification when you don’t understand something. And, don’t forget to smile. A smile will enhance your mood and can be carried through the phone to sound warm and friendly.

Choose a good location. Location is key to any interview. Your location for your interview should be free of distraction and noise. Find a quiet place where you can concentrate. To be sure you have a good location, call a friend ahead of time from this quiet location to ensure they can hear you clearly and audibly. If they can’t, make adjustments. If you’re conducting your interview over a cell phone, make sure your phone service has good coverage in your chosen location to prevent the call from dropping.

Be respectful. Except in absolute emergency situations, never put an interviewer on hold. Value the time they are taking to interview you and make the best of it. Also be sure charge your phone in advance. You don’t want your phone to die mid-conversation! You want to show the employer that you are very interested in the position and that you are a responsible individual. In addition, follow the lead of the interviewer. Don’t rudely cut him or her mid-sentence, and take time to pay close attention to what he or she is saying. Also, let the interviewer hang up before you do, because you don’t want to accidentally hang up before they’re ready.

Ask questions. It’s important to ask questions during this time, because you may need to clarify certain things. By asking questions, you show you’re really interested in the position you’re interviewing for. You also want to make sure the position is the right fit for you, not just practice your conversation skills.

Follow up. Since you will not receive business cards after your phone interview, be sure to ask for contact information and how the interviewer prefers to be contacted. Just like with face-to-face interviews, send a thank-you note. Ask if they need you to take any other actions or send any necessary documents. Lastly, find out when you should expect to hear back from them about the decision and show your gratitude for the interview by thanking the interviewer for their time and willingness to speak to you. Also, be sure to send them a thank you note via e-mail or in the mail immediately following the interview. This will help you stand out from other candidates for the job.

Phone interviews don’t have to make you nervous if you follow these helpful steps. On the upside, these interviews are actually more convenient and time efficient than face-to-face interviews. Your personality is something that sets you apart so, just relax and let yourself shine!