- Find a good spot
- Keep your resume handy
- Do your research
- Find about your interviewer
- Prepare notes (and keep them with you)
- Practice your answers
- Smile – let interviewer hear your enthusiasm
- Speak clearly
- Keep the discussion conversational
- Follow-up with thanks
- Choose a good spot: Companies generally tell you in advance when they will be calling. Choose a room where you can speak without disruption. Shut out other noises like TV and radio, take the kids away and lock the room from inside. Ask your family members not to disturb you when the interview is in progress. Get a good phone — preferably a landline.
You don’t want calls to drop at this time.
- Keep documents handy: Get a hard copy of your resume and cover letter and keep it ready. Keep pen and paper handy to take down notes. You could even keep your laptop on in case you want to refer to the Internet. But take care to be discreet — don’t hammer away loudly at the keys of your computer.
- Use a cheat sheet: One of the great advantages of a phone interview is invisibility. Prepare for expected questions in advance and jot down points on a piece of paper. Write clearly and legibly since you will be referring to it under pressure.
Practice the answers to expected questions beforehand and prepare for any derivative question that may arise as well.
- Be in a positive frame of mind: This may seem odd, but smile! Though the interviewer cannot see you, it is not difficult to sense your mood over the phone. If you feel happy, bright and enthusiastic, this will reflect in your voice. Some experts also suggest dressing for the interview. If you think this will put you in the right frame of mind for the interview, go right ahead and slip into formal clothes.
- Do your homework: You’ve already visited the company portal while writing your cover letter, so you have a sense of what the organization is about. This may be a good time to go back to the portal and brush up on that knowledge. If you know the name of your interviewer, you could also search him/her on the Internet to learn more about him/her.
- Treat the interview like a face-to-face interaction: It is easy to fall into the trap of not taking a phone interview as seriously as a face-to-face interview. But remember, this is a process of elimination as well. It will be unfortunate if you were eliminated at this stage because you did not take the interview seriously enough. Prepare for a phone interview as you would for a face-to-face interaction.
- Ask intelligent questions: After he/she is done with the interview, your interviewer will typically ask if you have any questions. This is a chance for you to showcase your intelligence. You could ask questions on the role you are being interviewed for, company branding or its strategy to beat market slump. Asking questions that tell the employer you are serious about this role.
- Don’t bring up salary: It is too early at this stage to bring up salary and perks. The company is still assessing your suitability for the job. Salary discussions generally take place in the final stages of the hiring process. So hold your horses till then!
- Ask if the interviewer has other questions: Asking the interviewer if he/she has any other questions is a good way to round up the discussion. This will give him/her a chance go back to the list of questions and see if something has been left out. If there are no more questions, ask what the next step will be in the hiring process.
- Say thank you: Don’t forget to say thank you, even if the interview has gone badly. Some experts even recommend sending a short thank you note to the interviewer a day after the interview.
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