Whether you have a scheduled phone interview or an impromptu call from a recruiter or hiring manager, consider some of the following do’s and don’ts to ensure you have a successful call.
· Make sure there are no distractions (people, pets, TV/radio) that will create background noise.
· Use a landline if at all possible. If using a cell phone, make sure the phone is charged (or plugged in) and has a strong cell signal in the area you are taking the call.
· Let anyone who will be nearby know that you will be on a call and should not be interrupted.
· Take several deep breaths before the call. And do not forget to breathe during the call. This can help lower your voice pitch.
· Be on time and ready for a phone interview.
· Ask the interviewer at the beginning of the call how long they have scheduled for the interview. This will help you pace yourself.
· Acknowledge if you have a strong accent, lisp, or anything that may make it difficult for the interviewer to understand you. Tell the interviewer, “Let me know if you have any trouble understanding me, and I will be happy to repeat the information.”
· Smile! It can help to look in a mirror while you interview — this will help ensure you are expressing emotion.
· Let your enthusiasm come through in your voice. However, be mindful of your tone and volume. Limit “uhhs,” ‘umms,” and “you knows” in your responses.
· Slow down. When you are nervous, you are likely to talk faster, which makes you more difficult to understand. So talk a bit slower than you normally would.
· Listen carefully to the question you are being asked before answering to ensure you understand the question before you begin answering. Use facts in your answers. Be specific with your achievement, statistics, and numbers.
· Keep your answers brief and to the point. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a phone interview is not knowing when to stop talking. So answer briefly, but use verbal cues. For example, “Do you want to know more?”
· Call from indoors, if you are using a cell phone. Wind can create noise on the line with a cell phone
· Take a job interview phone call at work or at Starbucks. Make sure you are someplace quiet to take the call.
· Interrupt your interviewer. Make sure he or she has finished asking the question before you answer. Wait a second or two before answering.
· Never put your interviewer on hold to answer another call. Ignore call waiting (if you have it) — or disable it, if possible.
· Be too “casual” or “informal” in your conversation. This is still a job interview!
· Chew gum or eat anything during a phone interview.
· “Uptalk.” This is a nervous habit where you end a declarative statement with an intonation that makes it sound like a question. (Record a practice interview to identify if this is something you do.)
· Use your phone’s speakerphone feature on a phone interview. Not only can a speakerphone create an echo, but it also picks up more background noise.
· Take notes on your computer. The sound of typing is distracting. Have a pen and paper to take notes.
Above all, common sense should prevail with the right and wrong tactics to use during an interview. Congratulate yourself that you were chosen to be interviewed. That’s a big step in the hiring process. Now this is your chance to show the interviewer you are the right person for the job.
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