The following was submitted by Melissa Lee:
How to have a successful telephone interview is one thing that many people, me included, have wondered about. Interviews are nerve racking enough when you are face to face, shouldn’t it be the same over the phone? If the little voice in your head said “of course” then we are on the same page. There are plenty of people and probably thousands of websites that will offer you advice on the best possible way to have a successful telephone interview, but when the time comes, will you really be thinking about all of that?
Over the years, and after many interviews, I have learned that each interview is the same, whether you are in person or speaking on a phone. You will be nervous. You will get choked up. You will forget to say something important. You will be asked questions that require fantastic responses. But don’t worry; you can prepare yourself before the interview.
To prepare, it is always a good idea to take a look over your own resume and cover letter. Any questions that will be asked about you will come from the information you have included there. Also, think about the position you have applied for and think of questions that may be asked of you regarding your background and experience that pertain to that position. Not too hard, right?
When it is time for your interview, be sure to be somewhere where you can talk. Do not be in the office or out to lunch at a loud restaurant. You need to be able to speak and hear clearly. If you are at your current job, you will not want anyone to overhear you, at least not if you want to keep your current employment status. If you do not have a choice and have to be at work during the phone interview time slot, then go outside or sit in your car. For me, going outside helps me relax. How many interviews do you get to have outside anyway?
The phone rings. How should you answer? You should answer as if you were greeting the person in their office. Don’t get distracted since you are on the phone. This is not your Mom or your best friend. You still need to be professional and speak in a formal way. There is a professional on the other end of the phone who wants to get an idea of who you are and why they should hire you. Make this person want to hire you. At least make them want to give you a second interview. Give it all you’ve got, but don’t forget it is still an interview.
My last bit of advice is to always send a follow up email or letter. Let the interviewer know you are thankful they contacted you and are interested in speaking with them again soon. This concludes your interview on a good note. Will it get you the job? Maybe, maybe not, but it might just help you get that second interview, that second chance to prove you are the right choice for the job.
Thank you Melissa for your insight and no doubt many of our followers will benefit from your comments.
Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
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