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3 Tips for Successful Phone Interviews

phone interviewUpdate: Originally published 12/3/2010

How important are phone interviews?

Very. When I owned BullsEyeResumes, I wrote a lot about doing phone interviews especially during the technology boom.  In fact, I updated one of my articles last year – 10 Ways to ACE the phone interview (originally posted 10/1/2008) because I find many job seekers are still struggling with phone interviews.

Why are phone interviews used?

First, you have to understand why these phone meetings with recruiters are used. Like SKYPE interviews, the phone interview lowers the costs of recruiting. They help recruiters figure out if the person they see on paper (resume) is the person they will hear on the phone.  As a HR Manager, I can guarantee you that I don’t want to waste time with a candidate in a face-to-face meeting, if I don’t get a positive response from the phone interview. A successful phone interview will get you to the next step in the hiring process.   Bottom line is that they save recruiters time and money and they are not going away!

During the phone interview

During the telephone interview, where you cannot see the interviewer, you have to be aware of three things —tone, clarity and energy. Understanding the following three things, can really improve your chances of doing a successful phone interview.

1. Energy – Stay high energy from beginning to end of the telephone interview. If you are not a morning person schedule your interview in the afternoon if you can. If you sound tired and low energy, the recruiter might think that is how you really are.

2. Tone – Try and limit sarcasm or negativity since you cannot “read” the interviewer. Maintain a positive perspective and speak in a professional manner.  Make sure you are in a quiet location so you can focus on leaving a professional impression with the recruiter.

3. Clarity – Listen carefully to the questions. It is really easy for job seekers to go off on a tangent answering the wrong question. If the interview were face to face, a quick gesture could abort the wrong answer, but because you are on the phone, you can’t look for any of these visual cues. You don’t want to waste time going down the wrong road so make sure you have a clear understanding of what is being asked.

Job seekers who are looking for internships or trying to land that first big job after graduation should know that completing a successful phone interview is an important step in the job search process.

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