Telephone Interview Tips: How to Get Your Foot In The Door

As job seekers broaden their horizons to include positions far from their home town, and human resources departments try to deal with the deluge of job applications brought on by the recession, telephone interviews have become much more popular. Here are some telephone interview tips that will help you get your foot in the door – and keep it there.  Although this is a guide to help you prepare for a phone interview, you’ll discover some handy job interview tips that will help you, whether you’re on the phone or not.

Be Spontaneous

The trouble with a phone interview is that your potential employer can spring one on you at any time, so you must be prepared for the possibility. Here are some telephone interview tips that can prepare you for a spontaneous interview:

  • Keep Your Resume Handy: You may need to recall key points at a moment’s notice. Ideally, you’d memorize them, but if that’s not possible, be sure your resume is within easy reach.
  • Know Your Stuff: If this is a job you’re really interested in, one of the first things you should do is commit to memory the key facts about the company and the requirements of the job you’re after.
  • Keep a Pen in Your Pocket: It’s always a good idea to have a pen and paper handy, just in case you hear something you’ll need to know in the future.
  • Keep Your Cool: Remember, your questioner knows they’re putting you on the spot.  If you’re not sure of an answer, or you need to get your thoughts together, don’t be afraid to take a few deep breaths. It’s better than umm-ing or uhh-ing your way through the interview. This is sound advice for a scheduled phone interview as well.

Be Prepared

If you’ve got some time to prepare, in addition to the above telephone interview tips, try to:

  • Keep Hydrated: Phone interviews can be lengthy. You don’t want your voice giving out on you at a critical moment.
  • Control Your Environment: If you’re at home, make sure there’s no obnoxious background noise. If you like to walk and talk, make sure you’re not going to encounter a chain saw on your route.
  • Dress for Success: Yes, even for a phone interview. How you dress can affect how you act. Dressing nicely will help you to project confidence over the phone.
  • Remember to Smile: Just as dressing can help your confidence, smiling can help your disposition. Keeping a smile on your face will come through in your voice, even if you don’t notice it.

These are some job interview tips that are uniquely tailored to a telephone interview, but you can apply most of them to an ordinary job interview as well. As with any interview, phone interview questions can be all over the map, so be prepared to answer everything from why you’re looking for a job to how you would respond to a challenge.

If you have time to prepare for a job interview, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes to think about how you envision the interview proceeding. Come up with a pitch that sells yourself and presents your unique qualifications for the job. If there are items on your resume that you don’t want to dwell on, think about how you can transition to a positive aspect of your skill set.  Remember, if someone referred you to this position, it never hurts to drop a name.

It takes days to prepare for a job interview, but a phone interview sometimes doesn’t give you that luxury. Hopefully, these telephone interview tips will allow you to avoid potential pitfalls and put your best foot forward during your next phone interview.

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