Picture this: you get a job interview. You nervously pick out your outfit, map out the route to get to the interview site, and show up bright and early just for the occasion. You’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s, and prepared every which way possible. Now picture this: all that goes out the window because you’ve been asked to do a phone interview instead.
At first, it seems like a lucky break – it’s the easier way to go, isn’t it? Yet, all the professionalism you could have shown through your preparation and presentation is no longer a part of the picture. The interviewer won’t see you, they won’t read your body language, or be able to build as much of a personal rapport with you.
Instead, you’ll have to differentiate yourself by communicating strongly, which mean that you’ll have just a few seconds to start off on the right foot and make a positive impression. Read on for our tips on how you can prepare to leave a great impression within the first 15 seconds…
Do a test run: Although your interviewer won’t be looking at you, they will be expecting to have a clear conversation. Test out potential spots for your interview by practicing calling a friend and getting their feedback on background noise, clarity of your voice, and overall call quality.
Be timely: Although you can’t show your enthusiasm for the interview by arriving 10 minutes early, you can begin to build a positive image by answering the phone immediately. Though it won’t make the same impression as sitting alertly and beaming at the receptionist, it will still look good on you because you’re doing your part by answering promptly and saving the recruiter or hiring manager time, effort, and energy.
Use a land line: If possible, it’s recommended that you opt for a landline as opposed to a cell phone for the interview. There are many factors that can potentially hinder your interview on a mobile phone such as dropped calls, strange noises, and bad feedback. If you can’t get to a landline, make sure the setting you’ve picked has great, reliable reception. On that note, also steer clear of using a headset for the interview as doing so often makes it more difficult for the interviewer to hear you.
Avoid distractions: Avoid multitasking when talking to an employer because hearing you tap on your keyboard, play with a pen or even walking around your home will distract them from clearly listening to your answers. You should also try to steer clear of eating, chewing gum, or drinking during your interview. Finally, if other people reside in the place of your chosen interview, post a sign that requests that others respect your privacy during the duration of the interview.
Keep important material in front of you: Prepare for the phone interview by printing out a copy of your cover letter, your resume, the job description, and any additional research about the company. Having those vital materials at hand will help you when you want to reference a point, either about the position or yourself. Additionally, keep a notepad handy with some essentials about yourself you’d like to mention, outlines of answers to tough questions, and some phrases you’d like to incorporate into the interview such as, “I am very excited about the prospect of being part of your organization because…”
Smile: Smiling will bring a natural excitement to your voice and give the interview an energetic beat. Hitching a smile onto your face makes you sound enthusiastic about the position and the qualifications you bring to the table.
Interviewing over the phone may not give your candidacy as much dimension as a traditional in-person interview, however, you can optimize the factors surrounding your phone call to ensure you make a great first impression. The most important goal of the interview should be to come across as an intelligent professional and good fit for the job, and these preparation tips will help you do that.