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Phone Interview Tips - How to Make a Good Impression During a Phone Interview

As the workplace becomes more intense, with more challenges to complete in a shorter amount of time, companies are looking for faster ...

As the workplace becomes more intense, with more challenges to complete in a shorter amount of time, companies are looking for faster approaches to sifting through the volumes of resumes received for each recruited position. They have found one way to do that with the phone interview. After reviewing the resume for the minimum requirements, they set up a phone interview to eliminate additional candidates and bring the group to a manageable size. And, this is the eliminate candidates. So how do you stay in the running?
Sarah had not been in the job market for seven years when a re-organization eliminated her position. She was not prepared to begin a career search. She could not even begin to think through how to engage in an interview or sell herself to another employer. She was a bit distraught because she had been exposed to several phone interviews, but nothing seemed to be working.
At first, Sarah found phone interviews easy. She did not have to dress professionally to meet with the interviewer and she did not have to drive to their location. Also, she found that she could work on other things while she talked with the interviewer. On one occasion she even had a sick child at home, and, although that was a little distracting, she thought she handled the interview well. However, she never received a call back. Sarah knew she had to approach this important interview differently, but just did not know how to get started.
To begin, Sarah had to understand that the interviewer had already looked at her technical abilities and specific skill sets. Without meeting those minimum qualifications, Sarah would not have been invited to participate in a telephone interview. Sarah's challenge now was to tackle the interviewer's emotion and judgment about her fit to their culture. She needed to express how she fit by giving examples of her work ethic, habits and behaviors. Although it is hard to sell ourselves and get the interviewer to "like" us when we are not in front of them, it is not impossible to verbally show them charm, professionalism and how we can contribute.

Here are several tips that helped Sarah and can help you to make a good impression during the next phone interview:

Phone Interview Tip #1 - First, Sarah prepared and practiced for each interview just as she would have done for any in-person interview.
She researched the company and her strategy in answering various interview questions. She thought through how she would talk about the needs of the interviewer as well as her own needs. Sarah made sure her answers and examples were short and concise. She wanted to get right to the point since she did not always know how much time she would have to prove she was the right candidate.

Phone Interview Tip #2 - Because she was at home for a phone interview, Sarah made sure her surroundings were quiet.
She eliminated any distracting background noise such as children playing, dogs barking, or neighbors mowing their lawn by closing herself off in a quiet interior room. She also turned off her cell phone so it would not interrupt the interview.

Phone Interview Tip #3 - During the interview, Sarah kept her focus on what was being said and how she answered each question.
She listened intently to the question being asked to be sure that she addressed it without getting distracted on another subject or idea. Sarah identified work habits and characteristics that set her apart from other candidates and communicated them to the interviewer. She knew it was important to relate her relevance to the company and their needs early on.

Phone Interview Tip #4 - When Sarah communicated with the interviewer, she showed enthusiasm in her voice when talking about the job, their company or the industry.
Sometimes Sarah would walk around the room during the interview to keep her energy up. Initially, when she was too relaxed, she would talk about information that was not always relevant - about failure or weaknesses. So staying enthusiastic and keeping her focus on her contribution to the position was key. Sarah also learned to brag a little about her accomplishments and show the interviewer that she was a good fit for their culture.

Preparing for each telephone interview as you would an in-person interview will show polish and professionalism. Keeping your focus on the questions and how you fit the position will make you stand out from other candidates. Be prepared...your first impression, even if only a verbal one, is still a lasting impression.



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