How to Excel in a Telephone Interview

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Telephone interviews have become a part of preliminary screening rounds nowadays, before inviting the job candidate for an in-person interview. In some cases, employers prefer to conduct full interviews over the phone if the candidate is out of town or to save time.

Phone interviews are also a way of short listing candidates during the initial rounds and selecting only the most qualified ones for the next rounds. However, a phone interview is very challenging from a candidate’s point of view because you cannot see the interviewer’s reactions.

If you have a telephone interview scheduled in the coming days, you can try the following tips to improve your chances of success.

1) Select a Good Location – Find a quiet place to take the phone call. Ensure that you have a good cell phone signal and lock the door to avoid interruptions. Make sure that you are not preoccupied with some other tasks and are available to talk.

2) Prepare Yourself and Keep Things Handy – You are generally given advanced notice about a phone interviews so you can prepare yourself beforehand. Use the time to do research about the organisation, its clients, motto, etc. Keep your documents handy and prepare a cheat sheet mentioning your skills, achievements, strengths, weaknesses, questions you want to ask the interviewer, etc. Keep a pen, paper and copy of your resume with you so that you have all the information in one easy-to-access location.

3) Listen Carefully – Proper communication is very important during a telephone interview. Listen very carefully to the interviewer; understand the question and then answer. Speak clearly so that the interviewer can hear you properly. Don’t interrupt the interviewer while he/she is speaking. It may give a wrong impression that you are inattentive or uninterested.

4) Smile and Show Enthusiasm – It’s true that your face will not be visible to the interviewer, but your tone will be. Carry a smile on your face and show enthusiasm by expressing excitement about the opportunity and asking about different aspects of the job.

5) Be Confident and Professional – Confidence is the key to shine in any interview. Answer the questions with confidence and show a professional attitude during the entire interview. Don’t let the conversation turn into an informal chat.

6) Take Your Time – Taking a pause while answering questions is considered normal, but don’t pause for too long. Leaving too much dead air will make the interviewer doubt your confidence and knowledge. Also, avoid adding too much filler to answers for the same reason.

7) Follow-up—End the interview with a thank you note. Some words of gratitude will make a good impression on the interviewer. Jot down the important points, types of questions asked and the way you answered. It will benefit you in preparing for the face-to-face interview.

Take telephone interviews seriously as your performance in this round will be the first deciding factor for your future job. Consider this as an opportunity to prepare yourself for the coming rounds. All the best!

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