Thursday, January 17, 2013

Beat That Telephone Interview

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Have you noticed something out there? Telephone Interviews are becoming more and more popular. The telephone interview is becoming more common place as companies strive to reduce costs. Research has shown that a hiring manager will make a decision on you in the first 5 minutes. So read on and see how you can improve your chances and get to the next step, the face-to-face interview.

Maybe you are looking to relocate to a company in another state, or more likely, the hiring company wants to weed out any inappropriate candidates first. Hiring managers sometimes have hundreds of applicants, so performing a telephone interview is a relatively quick and inexpensive screening tool.

The telephone interview should be taken seriously as a face-to-face interview. The only difference is that it doesn't matter what you wear. You could wear nothing at all! But no. There is a psychological aspect here. What if you were to put on best suit with your finest tie? What will happen is your confidence and your professionalism will be raised and this will come across to the hiring manager on the other end of the phone. Remember; you've got 5 minutes to make an impression, so you have to be prepared from the outset.
Before the Interview Agree beforehand on a suitable date and time which the telephone interview will be conducted. Establish who will be calling you and their position within the company. It may be a conference call so there may be more than one person interviewing you. So clarify this.

Telephone Interview toolkit Get a copy of the resume you sent to the company and some paper and pens to take notes with. Get a clock which you can glance at. This would appear rude in a face-to-face interview, but use it to your advantage in this setting, especially if you are on a fixed time. You need to sell yourself and you may only have 20 minutes to do it. Use the company website to see if the interviewer is mentioned. There may be a profile of the interviewer under the 'about us' section. Also check websites such as LinkedIn or Facebook for a photo of your interviewer and some background information on them. Take a print out of the photo and use it to talk to during the telephone interview. This will be more natural than looking at yourself in the mirror. Also check the latest news on the website and show that have researched the company. Try using Google News to find any other information.

Practice Do you know what your voice sounds like? Not the same as you think it does. It's that voice you put on the answering machine after which you think - "that not me! Try a mock telephone interview with a friend or family member.

Anticipate questions Describe your career to date? Tell me about yourself? What do you know about our organization? Why you are interested in this position? What skills can you bring to this position? What is your current salary? What salary are you looking for? What are your strengths/weaknesses? How do you work in a team?

The Telephone Use a land line and make sure you are not going to be interrupted by other people or other noise sources. Ideally pick a room where there is a desk where you can lay out your telephone interview toolkit. Disable call waiting. The telephone beeping in your ear will cause you extra stress which you don't need. Avoid using a cell phone, as you want to have the best call clarity, and you don't want the signal to drop off during the call.

Just before the interview - Are you wearing your best suit and tie? Make sure the phone is not off the hook. Make sure there is no background noise. Talk out loud to yourself for a minute so you're not squeaky when you start the interview, especially if it is early in the morning.

When the time comes When you answer the call, wait till it rings 2 or 3 times. Don't pick it up straight away, you'll appear too eager. Leave it too late and it will appear like you're not really interested. Never ask the interviewer to call back at a more suitable time.

For the duration of the telephone interview, sit up right or stand. Don't pace around or lie on your stomach. Avoid slang. Avoid saying umm and err. Sound professional and stay focussed at all times. You want the interviewer to know you are taking in what he is saying and you want to reflect this with thoughtful and meaningful replies.
Meet and greet Hello, how are you today? Exchange pleasantries. For example - what is the weather like there today? (If you are calling from a different city)

Establish who you are talking to and the position you are interviewing for Establish the length of the call. The telephone interview itself begins Analyze the style of the interview and try and match the pace. Help the interviewer along if he or she is not a professional. Talk to the photo and listen intently. You don't want to ask the interviewer to repeat the question. Never interrupt and wait a couple of seconds to give your reply. Remember. Never use negative words. Always be positive.

Be brief and to the point in your replies. The interviewer is probably taking notes and might have a lot of candidates to get through. You want to stand out from the crowd. Don't ramble Ask killer questions You want to demonstrate to the interviewer you have researched the company and the position and that you can see yourself in the role. You want to come across as assertive and curious, and able to think on your feet. Show your feelings The interviewer obviously cannot read your body language so he needs to get a feel of who you are, and if you would fit into the team. He wants to get a feel of you being assertive, efficient and trustworthy. Vary your voice to show your emotions, he doesn't want to hire a robot! Wave your other hand if you like, to express your emotions. Most of all you want to come across as being likable.

Wrap it up You need to tell the interviewer that you want this job - "I WANT THIS JOB". Ask the interviewer what the next steps are and when they expect to start conducting face-to-face interviews. Even if you think you are not interested in the job, go along with it. You don't know what other opportunities this could lead to. You need to thank the interviewer for his or her time. After the telephone interview The next day, send an email to the interviewer expressing your interest in the company and recap your suitability to the job. Two or three days later, send a written thank you note again expressing your interest in the company and reiterating why you are a good candidate for the job. Use quality stationery. Debrief How did you perform? Make sure you've got the main points to recap to the interviewer in the email

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