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6 Phone Interview Tips to Help You Get the Job You Want

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 11:20am | by jennaleesmith1

In this economy, it’s an employer’s market, because there are so many applicants per job. With an abundance of applicants, employers have their pick of the litter, so it’s up to you to stand out and be chosen. It’s no easy feat, especially when employers are changing the way they interview. Because of the amount of applications employers receive, more of them are beginning the interview process with a phone call.

Phone interviews are useful for employers, because it allows them to quickly screen applicants. If they find you suitable for employment, they’ll schedule a face-to-face interview. So, mastering the phone interview is nearly as important as having excellent face-to-face interview skills. When your phone rings, you want to answer it with confidence, knowing you’re fully prepared for your phone interview.

1. Print out a copy of your resume. Before calling you, your employer is going to have a copy of your resume in-hand. Your resume is the exact reason they were prompted to call you to begin with. Make sure that you have a copy of your resume on you, at all times. This will ensure that it’s nearby whenever they call.

2. Do not ask the employer to hold, unless absolutely necessary. You don’t want to come across as rude or unprepared, even if the phone call came unexpectedly. Chances are they’ll offer you a few moments to prepare at the beginning of the call. Take this opportunity to get yourself in front of a computer, locate your resume, and disable call waiting. If the meeting was scheduled, you should have these things done before the phone ever rings.

3. Do your research. The beautiful thing about a phone interview is that the employer can’t see you. They don’t know what you’re up to, so feel free to pull up their website and do some research. Don’t be afraid to seem knowledgeable about their company, even if you’re just scouring some information from the web.  

4. Be confident. Employers want to be certain you’re the right person for the job. This is going to take a unique blend of confidence, education, and job experience. It’s important to not confuse confidence with cockiness. You want them to know you’re qualified, but also ready to learn. Share your educational and work experience and be detailed about it. If you've earned any awards, emphasize them. If you're enrolled in a Six Sigma program earning your Advanced Lean Principles & Tools Certificate, document it. If you graduated with honors, it’s important to highlight that as well.

5. Don’t rush. Just like in a face-to-face interview, it’s easy to get ahead of yourself and rush through. To avoid this potentially career-ending-before-it-even-began-mistake, speak slowly and clearly. Enunciate and avoid using slang phrases. recommends that you, “Remember, the quality of your conversation and your ability to answer questions is all the interviewer has to go on over the phone.” Be professional, courteous, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re stuck on a question, don’t fill the blanks with “ums” and “ahs.” Instead, ask the interviewer to clarify.

6. Close the call with confidence. Don’t be afraid to ask for an interview. Be straightforward and proactive. If the interview has otherwise gone well, but the employer hasn’t scheduled anything concrete with you, take control of your future and ask for a face-to-face interview. You could say something like, “I really enjoyed speaking with you. Could we continue our conversation in person?” The employer may have other candidates so don’t feel bad if they don’t say yes. They may call or write to schedule that interview at a later date. If time passes and you don’t hear from them, you can always follow up with an email.  

These are 6 tips to nail your next phone interview. What are some other tips you have for our interviewees?

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