Do you know why you should wear a business suit to a phone interview?
It’s near impossible to search for jobs without getting a phone interview. A phone interview is your chance to give an employer a quick peak of what you’re all about. Most job seekers seem to forget this, but the whole point of the phone interview is to qualify you for an in-person interview. That’s it.
Knowing that, here’s a few techniques you can use to help you score an in-person interview on your next phone interview.
Be enthusiastic: Some people find it helps to smile while they talk. Use a land line, and disable call waiting. Interruptions caused by dropped or incoming calls just add stress you don’t need.
Have a list of questions prepared: Well-thought-out questions show you’re really interested in the company and the job. Also, have your resume in front of you. Make sure it’s the same version the interviewer has. The Complete Interview Answer Guide has a great list of questions you can ask your interviewer.
Match your style to the interviewer’s: If the interviewer uses a lot of technical terms and industry jargon, so should you.
Never interrupt: Silently count to two or three seconds after the interviewer stops talking before you start.
Avoid negative words: Banish negative verbs like can’t, haven’t and don’t from your vocabulary. Employers want people who can offer solutions, not potentially create problems.
Recap your fit for the job: Be ready with a 30-second summary of why you’re right for this job, using an example or two from your work history.
Ask about next steps: At the end of the call, ask how well your qualifications meet the company’s needs. This will give you a chance to address minor issues immediately. Then ask when you can meet with them in person.
Say thanks: Follow up with an e-mail. While you’re at it, briefly remind the interviewer how your skills and achievements can help the company meet its goals. Perfect Thank You Letters will show you how to thank your interviewer with an email.
Wear business attire: Of course the interviewer can’t see you, but you won’t feel, or sound, as businesslike in your pajamas.
Eat a cough drop before the call: A medicated cough drop, especially one with menthol will be good for your voice. It’s a small but helpful thing.
Have a photo of your interviewer on your computer screen: This could be from LinkedIn, Facebook, the company website, or anywhere else your interviewer’s face might appear online. It helps makes the interview a little more like an in-person conversation.
Avoid saying “um” or “ah”: Try replacing those sounds with a pause, which is a sign of intelligence.
Take notes: Jot down topics and questions that seem to be of particular interest to the person interviewing you, so you can touch on these when you send your thank-you.
Even if you decide you don’t want the job, proceed as if you did: People sometimes realize during a phone interview that the job in question just isn’t for them. At this stage, you still don’t have the full story. You never know whom you might meet at in-person interviews, and what networking opportunities could result.
Until you get a firm offer and must make a final decision, keep your options open. After all, that’s exactly what the company is doing.