The telephone interview is a technique being used by an increasing number of organizations for the purpose of pre-screening candidates for employment prior to arranging face-to-face visits, for candidates who are overseas or as selection interviews for internships. Your objective is to sufficiently impress the caller so that a personal interview is arranged. There are advantages and disadvantages for both the employer and candidate when using this method and it is important to remember that telephone skills need to be developed through practice and preparation.

The following tips and suggestions will help you reach out and touch a potential employer and assist you in obtaining an on-site interview.

Prepare Your Environment

If you know when and where the telephone interview will take place:

  1. Eliminate distractions
  2. Place beside the telephone your resume, an outline of important points to cover, company information, including job description, a notepad, calculator, and class schedule and appointment book in case a second interview should be arranged.
  3. A glass of water

If surprised by the call, all above suggestions still apply. Take time to gain your composure and control your surroundings. If not possible, arrange a time to call the interviewer back. Don't try to hide your situation from the interviewer. You must have no distractions.

Know and Use the Interviewer's Surname throughout the Telephone Interview

  1. Both parties will take the interview more seriously.
  2. Using names helps to personalize the conversation.
  3. Be courteous to the receptionist if he/she first places the call to you.

Be Comfortable, but Don't Overdo It

  1. Be alert, awake, and dressed in appropriate clothing. There is a correlation between how you act and sound with how you look.
  2. Sit up straight! Your voice will project better and will sound more energetic. For shorter interviews, standing can give you a greater feeling of authority and may increase your self-confidence.

Display Enthusiasm with Your Voice

  1. Use inflection in your voice and avoid a monotone delivery. This will help create greater interest in you by the interviewer.
  2. Avoid mumbling. Speak loudly and clearly.

Be Ready to Discuss

  1. Yourself (qualifications, skills, interests, traits).
  2. Short and long term goals.
  3. Your interest in the position and knowledge of the company.
  4. What you can offer to the company.

Take Notes!

  1. They will help you prepare for a future face-to-face interview.
  2. If the company representative is interrupted during your telephone interview, jot down the topic under discussion. This may help get the interviewer back on track when he/she returns to the telephone.

Know What the Next Step Is, Who Will Take It, and When

  1. Thank the interviewer for giving you the opportunity to discuss his/her vacant position.
  2. Express an interest (if genuine) in meeting with him/her for a face-to-face interview at a later date.
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