Call to Success

Some employers make use of phone interviews to select a pool of potential candidates they will call up for a face-to-face interview. Essential skills, experience or vital information are usually asked for during the phone conversation to eliminate candidates who do not make the basic requirements and hence are deemed not worthy of an interview.

For the company, it saves them the time and resources to receive and assess one less candidate. Other times, it could be for a long-distance career application or a call from a manager out of town.

Many job seekers dismiss the phone interview as unimportant and needless to make a fuss about. Others get duped by the caller that it is not an interview at all.

But while a phone interview may not be important enough to earn you the job, it could just be the reason why you were not called up for an interview.

Here are some tips for a phone interview.

#1 Be prepared

Prepare a summary of your background and work experience. Also, have a copy of your resume by your side at all times.

For the serious job hunters, keep a list of the companies you have applied to, along with questions about the position and company, reasons why you would like to work there as well as why they should hire you.

#2 Etiquette

Remember to ask for the caller's name and address him or her by name. If you have already accepted a job offer elsewhere and you are not planning to change your mind, this is the time to tell the interviewer.

#3 Be ready

Find a quiet room away from noise and distractions and have a pen and paper ready for note-taking.

If you are not ready, ask politely if you can return their call shortly. Distractions and background noise may cause you to speak loudly and hence give the interviewer the impression of you being rude.

Get out of that cosy couch. Being in a relaxed pose makes you feel laid-back and sound too relaxed. This may then come across as lazy or unprofessional. Instead, get to your work desk and sit up straight with one hand on the phone.

#4 Yes, speaking?

Speak clearly and avoid the "hmms" and "ahhh"s. Get a friend to practice with you if this job is particularly important. Also, smile as you speak. Smiling helps you sound confident and will also make you feel more relaxed.

Be brief. Prepare and give a summary of your work experience, touching on the important points and leaving side issues out. Rambling on about irrelevant stuffs or droning on and on about your experience is not going to be helpful. Instead, it may reveal how nervous you are. In fact, it is okay to take a few moments to collect your thoughts.

Jot down notes and points exchanged whilst having the phone conversation. It may be helpful to cover up or follow through in the face-to-face interview later.

Lastly, needless to say, do not interrupt the interviewer as he or she speaks.

#5 After the call

Address the interviewer by his name again and thank him for his time. Politely ask when you will be informed for a face-to-face interview. Then, follow up with a thank you note via email or snail mail.
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