Sunday, January 6, 2013

Telephone Interviews - How to Prepare for an Interview on the Phone

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Large numbers of resumes land in front of recruiters and hiring managers daily, and they need a strategy for identifying candidates to meet in person. Phone interviews are an efficient way to help them move through the process, and help them decide who should move on in the hiring process.
These tips will help you, the job seeker, prepare when you get a call requesting a phone interview.

Prepare adequately
You'd devote significant time to preparing for an in-person interview, and those same steps should be followed for a phone interview. Don't make the mistake of taking it lightly just because it's over the phone. Though you probably researched the company you're interviewing with before you sent your resume, revisit what you learned so it's fresh.

In theory, a phone interview can be less stressful than an in-person interview. You don't have to worry about faulty directions, car trouble, or mass-transit snags. You can create notes to refer to during the interview. Even if you don't use them, their presence will remind you of your readiness for the interview- and the job. It's also a good idea to have a copy of your resume in front of you. Though you probably know its contents by heart, you may draw a blank under pressure.

Dress for success
This may sound pointless. After all, no one can see you, right? True. But give this tip some thought. Are you really able to project professionalism in your Hello Kitty pajamas? A three-piece suit isn't necessary, but a good outfit can help you better project your inner confidence. As Skype becomes more popular, the option of dressing down for a phone interview may disappear anyway.

Do a trial run
This tip, like the above, might be filed under "corny" but it could also give you an edge by helping you work out any kinks before the interview. Ask a willing friend or relative to help you prepare by staging a mock interview. You can formulate questions together, using your knowledge about the company. But you can also ask your helper to include some of those "scary" interview questions, such as "tell me about yourself" and "why should I hire you over the other 50 people who want this position?" When it's over, make sure you get feedback. Did you ramble on? Did you say "um" too much? Did you have to pause too often to gather your thoughts? Identifying any flaws beforehand gives you the opportunity to address them.

Use a landline
Mobile phones have improved greatly, but carriers still drop calls. If this happens to you during an interview, and you're able to get the hiring manager back on the phone, you may find yourself too rattled to project your best self. If you have a landline or access to one, use it. Your landline phone is probably cordless, so make sure it's adequately charged and working well before your interview. You're putting effort and energy into the important elements of preparation, but don't overlook little details.

Say thank-you
You send thank-you notes after live interviews, so make sure you do the same after a phone interview. Be brief, reminding the interviewer about your qualifications and how you can be an asset to the company. This step may be overlooked by other phone interviewees, so ensuring you do it, and in a timely way, may give you a boost over the competition.
The job search process is stressful. Planning and preparation, and taking stock of big and small details, will help you put your best qualities on display.
Tracy Derrell knows your resume gets you in the door so you can show a potential employer what you can do for them.

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