Telephone Interview Dos and Don’ts

by on September 28, 2011

The first thought about having a phone interview generally makes us think that it’s as easy as it sounds.  After all, one does not have to get dressed for an interview, does not have to travel to the office and it also saves us from the very tense moment when the interviewer is in front of us asking questions.

However, phone interviews are not that easy and there is always the possibility that you fail the interview just as you can fail an in-person interview.  A few simple things like background noise, lack of attention, a dropped call, or little knowledge about the interviewing company can have your name dropped from the list of the contenders.

To keep that from happening we’ve made a list of tips on how to conduct a phone interview and what not to do when you’re interviewing via the telephone.  Follow them and you just may get to the next step in the hiring process.

Basic points to remember during a phone interview:

1. Do check the job posting and try and match your qualifications with the job requirements. Make a list of the job requirements with an example of how your skills match each requirement.  Write down specific cases that you can use as talking points.  Keep a list of talking points, answers to common questions, and your resume in front of you during the interview, just in case you panic.

2. Do thoroughly research the job and the company.  If you want your interview to go smooth, try and be as much prepared as possible.  Be able to state concisely what the job is and what the company does.  Be prepared to list ways that you can help them meet their goals.

3. Do make a list of the typical questions you can be asked during the interview and plan the way you are going to respond to these questions.

4. Do not chance having your call dropped.  Make sure you have made all the required arrangements in order to avoid dropped calls. If you are not 100% sure about your network connection, try and use your landline.

5. Do turn off your call waiting option so that you are not distracted by incoming calls during the interview.

6. Do not get distracted.  Find a private, quiet space for the call where you have access to a computer so that you can look up information on the fly (if you can do it without struggling).  Make sure there are no kids, pets, music or other distractions that could lead to distractions.

7. Do make sure you have a glass of water handy so that whenever your mouth gets dry you can take care of it.

8. Do take brief notes during the interview as one often tends to forget all that was asked later.

9. Do not lose focus.  An interview requires full concentration which is harder to attain during a phone interview than in an in-person interview.  If you have trouble understanding a question, ask the interviewer to repeat or clarify the question.  You can give partial respones and then ask if this is what they were asking or if you should go in another direction.

10. Do pay attention to your body language.  Your body language has a major role to play in a phone interview similar to that during an in-person interview.  Focus on the interviewer, smile, and think positive.  Your body language is reflected in your speaking and can help you focus.  And speaking with a smile portrays confidence and helps your interviewer feel more comfortable.

11. Do show them that you are a team player.  Departments and employees need to work together and get along well with others.  Demonstrate through previous experience (projects that you’ve worked on, or even sports teams you’ve played with) that you are a team player.

12. Do not take the call if you are not prepared.  If something comes up and you are not ready for the phone interview, reschedule the call.  It’s better to reschedule than to waste the employer’s time and risk failing the interview.

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