How to Make a Strong Impression During a Phone Interview

January 17th, 2014

Many employers who are pressed for time or constrained by tight budgets decide to streamline the candidate selection process by using phone interviews during the first round. A quick phone screening can reduce an applicant pool by half or more, simplifying a complex decision. And phone interviews cost almost nothing for parties on both ends of the conversation.

So, if you need to get past this first round before meeting your potential employers in person, here are a few moves that can help you make a strong impression using only your words and your voice.

1. Before the moment of your scheduled interview, stretch your body and loosen up. Then stand. If you can’t stand, sit up straight. These simple moves will open your circulation, expand your chest and lungs, and will have an impact that your listeners will be able to hear through the phone.

2. As odd as it sounds, your listeners will also be able to hear your smile. So smile before you answer the phone. And make your smile as genuine as possible—engage your entire face, not just your mouth.

3. Don’t rush to speak. Let your interviewer finish talking and then pause for a full second before you make a sound. In real life, the other person can take cues from your face regarding your engagement, interest and listening skills. But the phone won’t allow this. So relax. Don’t talk over your interviewer or cut them off, no matter how enthusiastic you feel.

4. Know exactly what you’ll say if your interviewer simply hands the conversation over to you, because this might happen. If she says something like “Tell me about yourself,” or “Tell me something about why I should hire you for this job”, know what you’ll say. Don’t let the line fall silent while you struggle to organize your thoughts.

5. Have a copy of your resume in hand. There’s a strong chance your interviewer will ask about it or refer to it as she speaks, so don’t waste her time while you slowly open your computer, let it boot up, search for the file, etc, etc. While you’re at it, you may also want to open the company’s website so your reviewer can use it as a reference during your conversation.

6. Allow the interviewer to control the conversation and follow their lead. Pick up their tone and reflect the same tone back. And if you run into a tangle or miscommunication, simply become quiet and allow her to ask for or provide the necessary clarification.

For more on how to navigate the phone interview process and make your way into the next round with style, contact the NC staffing team at PSU.

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