Tips to Succeed on a Telephone Interview

As if interviewing for a job is not nerve-racking enough, we often have to do it twice with most first round interviews taking place over the phone. Interviewing over the phone has a whole different feel and can cause you to feel anxious for it’s own reasons, but there are also plenty of positives. This week, I am sharing my tips on how to succeed on your next telephone interview.

  1. Look the Part
    • Be dressed professionally, or however is most appropriate for the position. It will put you in the mood of that career opportunity and make you feel more in-touch with the opportunity you are pursuing.
    • Keep the desk or table you are sitting at neat. You do not want to have things cluttered around you or be distracted by other projects.
  2. Body Language – It still applies!
    • SMILE! 🙂 It will help to make you less tense during the conversation.
    • Talk with your hands. If you are someone who does this naturally, it can help you talk through interview questions and it will make you more engaged/lively in the conversation.
      • NOTE: In an interview or any professional interaction, be cautious of being too boisterous with your hand gestures. No one wants to feel like you’re jumping across the table at them or about to accidentally hit them.
    • Focus your eyes. Whether you look at a photo of the person you are speaking to, something directly in front of you, or your notes, try to focus your eyes and keep your head up. Looking around the room because you do not have a person to keep eye contact with can make you “space out” and lose track of the conversation or miss an important piece of information.
  3. Be Prepared
    • The great thing about a phone interview is you can keep your notes and research right near you!
      • Have a copy of your resume, the job description, and any other supporting material you submitted, printed out so you can reference it.
      • Keep the company’s or institution’s website open. You never know if you may have to look something up in a hurry.
      • Read the bios of the company’s leadership – This can help you to connect with them if they are your interviewers or it can help you impress the interviewer by being familiar with your employer’s background and showing your ability to connect on a personal level.
      • Know the mission and vision of the company and have a “plug” on how you can contribute to and enhance it.
      • If you know there are questions you are nervous to answer or think you may stumble over, prepare responses to them and write down bullet points to help you.
    • Prepare questions for your interviewer.
      • Honestly think about the things you want to know about the company, the work environment, the job itself, etc. and make sure you leave with a comprehensive understanding of the position.
      • Takes notes during the interview so you can look back at what you have discussed. If something pops up that you did not understand or did not get a full explanation of, go back to that topic and ask new questions.
  4. How do I end this call?!
    • After the interview is complete, ask about next steps.
      • It is perfectly acceptable to ask how the interview/candidate process works after this point.
      • If the interviewer asks you for additional information, be sure you know how to get it to the interviewer (email, website, in the mail, etc.).
    • Say thank you!
      • Tell your interviewer you appreciate him/her taking the time to interview you and for considering you for the position.
      • Actually say the words, “thank you.”
  5. Follow-Up
    • Send a thank-you note to your interviewer no later than 24 hours after the interviewer – the sooner the better. Express your gratitude and also restate your interest in the position.
    • If you do not hear from the interviewer by the date they say they will contact you, it is OK to follow-up with him/her; however, only do it once. Do not bombard the person on a daily basis trying to get information.

Overall, treat your telephone interview like an in-person interview. Give your interviewer your full, undivided attention, do all the prep work you normally would, and execute with confidence! Good luck on your phone interviews! Wishing you all much success and many second interviews and job offers!

Sparkle On,

Alexandra

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