By Carol Ronis
If you’ve been going on job interviews lately, you might have noticed they’re becoming longer, more involved and much tougher. The interview process has been compared by some to running a marathon. Let’s focus on the first mile of the journey, the phone interview. Usually the first phase in the process, the phone interview can be challenging. Even though talking on the phone is a natural pastime for most of us, the phone interview is different. It’s a way for employers to pre-screen candidates to see if they want to bring them in for an in-person interview.
The phone interview should not be taken lightly. Whether you are required to go through a telephone pre-screening or the full interview, it’s important to prepare as you would for an in-person interview.
Here are some helpful hints:
- Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Avoid noisy children, friends or other things that will distract you during the interview. Try to schedule your appointment when you can break away from any distractions or interruptions that may occur.
- Have a good phone connection. Whether you are on a landline or your cell phone, you don’t want to have issues with cutting out, getting disconnected, or static on the line. You don’t want the employer to get frustrated during your interview.
- Be prepared. Have your materials handy; lay them in front of you on the table. This would include the job posting, information about the company, a copy of your resume and cover letter, and the answers to the tough questions you practiced.
- Take your time. Speak slowing, clearly and be as articulate as possible. Take a breath before answering the question. Take the time to completely answer your question and then stop talking to allow the interviewer to process what you said and ask for further clarification or a next question.
- Smile and be happy. Even though you can’t be seen, when you are wearing a smile the inflection in your voice will be upbeat and positive. Always stay in professional mode and focused on the topic. Providing key information about your experience and knowledge relative to the job will get you hired.
- Dress appropriately. Doing the interview in the privacy of your home, doesn’t mean you can show up in your pajamas. It’s hard to sound professional wearing your favorite pj’s.
- Stay clear of food, drinks or candy. Just because you can’t be seen, you can be heard. You may want to take time to have something to eat and drink prior to the interview. Also, keeping a glass of water next to you is okay in the event your throat gets dry.
- Show your interest in the company. Have questions prepared ahead of time to ask the employer at the end of the interview. These questions should focus on the company’s work and your job duties from the employment advertisement.
Make sure not to dismiss the phone interview as no big deal. Remember this is your chance to make your first impression and hopefully get called in for that next big interview.
By Carol Ronis, JCS Career Coach
The JCS Career Center offers comprehensive employment assistance that helps job seekers of all abilities and skill levels find and maintain employment. Services include career coaching, career assessments, resume and cover letter services, interview preparation, job readiness training, vocational rehabilitation and job placement assistance.