11 Tips for a Successful Phone Interview
1) Make sure you are in a quiet place. The sound of kids playing, co-workers talking, dogs barking and the radio/TV blaring does not send a good impression. You need to give that company your full attention and loud background noise will not help you achieve that goal.
2)Have a copy of your resume and project list in front of you. We all know it is hard to remember dates of employment or specifics of a particular project. Make things easy on yourself, have your resume in front of you. Your interviewer will.
3)Use a landline. It today’s world, it is hard enough to get an interview. Make sure your phone quality is the best it can possibly be. This is not the time to have dropped calls or static or an echo. Landlines still offer the most clear and consistent service.
4)Professional Outgoing Voice Mail Message. Make sure that the outgoing voice mail message on the phone line listed on your resume is professional. You need to clearly state your name, in full, on the message. You want the company to know they have reached the right person. You also want them to know that you know how to behave professionally. Don’t let cute messages left by your 2 year old or your favorite rap songs represent you. You want YOU to represent YOU.
5)Have your company research notes in front of you. If possible, also have your computer logged onto their website. This will give you the ability to easily access facts about the company that you can interject into the conversation. Ex. You could ask them about a specific project they recently completed and share with them how you have done one just like that in your past.
6)Know your salary requirements. This isn’t the time to talk salary (save that for the final interview) but it is a good idea to be prepared to answer their question.
7)Practice Interviewing with a friend. Practice makes perfect. Roll play, record yourself and brush up on your interviewing skills. Remember how to present yourself confidently (but not cocky) and professionally.
8)Pretend this is a face to face interview. Turn off your other phone lines (mute if necessary), sit up straight, smile when talking, and use normal hand gestures. If you have a headset for your phone then you should use it. You can even walk around the room while talking. This will make you sound more upbeat and energetic on the phone.
9)Prepare answers to commonly asked questions. Why are you interested in this position? What do you like about the company? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Most of all… be prepared.
10)Check the weather/local news where your interviewer is located. This will give you some small talk to add to the conversation. Let him/her know that you are savvy about their local market.
11)Thank you note. Just like a face to face interview. Do not forget to end the conversation with a Thank You note via email or mail. It’s always good to separate yourself from the masses with an attention to detail.