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Phone Interview Tips

How Do You Interview Prep for Telephone Interviews?

preparing for a telephone interviewYour style of interview prep will obviously be very different depending on the styles of interviews that you go on.

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Today, let’s talk about one of the less common interviews: The telephone interview. This used to be very rare, but it’s becoming more and more common for two reasons:

1) Interviewers have less time to devote to interviewing now than they’ve had at any time in the past;

2) Interviewers are reaching out geographically to candidates who might be in other states or even other countries. That makes it all the more likely you’ll encounter telephone interviews at some point in the future.

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Telephone interviews tend to be more stressful for some people, since they start with all the trouble of a face-to-face interview and then add on a requirement for “phone presence.” While many younger people were born with a cell phone in their hand, most experienced professionals were not, and some are not especially comfortable conducting important business over the phone.

Interview prep has to change to take into account the differences here, so here are a few ways to handle it:

1) Remember to Smile: Cliché as it might seem, smiling while on the phone helps you inject energy and personality into your voice. If you forget to smile, you might let the stress of the experience reduce the depth of your breathing — which makes you sound strangled and hoarse on the phone. In short, remember to speak up!

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2) Watch Yourself In a Mirror: This trick is used in speech preparation and many other high pressure business situations. The reason is simple: You are more aware of your body language and expression when you can actually see yourself. In a telephone interview, this translates to better control of your tone, speed, and volume. Make eye contact with yourself in lieu of the strong eye contact you should make in an interview.

3) Take Notes, But Only If You Must: A telephone interview gives you the opportunity to bring the note cards you used for interview prep into the interview itself. This can be a double-edged sword, however, as glancing through your notes can throw off your concentration.

If there are some details you are absolutely adamant about bringing up with your interviewer, spread the cards on the desk in front of you so you can easily glance down at them. No matter what, don’t make yourself shuffle them in mid-conversation.

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During a phone interview, try not to elaborate too much on their questions. Just answer their questions in one or two simple sentences.

This allows you to keep putting the ball back in their court to create further dialogue. If you keep talking, the interview becomes lopsided and they are going to lose interest in what you are saying.

It’s important to keep the conversation going back and forth and you do this by keeping your answers very short and direct. Don’t worry, if they want to know more or have you elaborate, they will ask you more specific questions.

Do this and you’ll have a much better chance of turning phone interviews into in-person interviews.


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