Telephone Interviews are Real Interviews

Employers are increasing relying on telephone interviews to screen candidates for employment.  This allows employers to gather information about a candidate to determine whether to invest more time by inviting the candidate for face-to-face interviews.  Telephone screens enable employers to perform an initial assessment of an applicant’s fit, compensation level, interest and availability in a timely, efficient manner.  The phone screen also serves to differentiate candidates who may appear similar on paper.

A successful applicant will also use the phone screen to gather information about the company and the position to determine interest in continuing in the process.  For both the applicant and the employer it is an opportunity to gather information to determine whether to invest more time and energy in the process.

The biggest challenge of telephone interviews is the absence of face-to-face presence and contact.  It is difficult for either party to assess how the other is reacting without physical cues and clues.  Up to 93% of our normal communication is nonverbal so eliminating those aspects requires both parties to use voice, intonation phrasing, pace and cadence to create presence and to demonstrate interest.

Tips for successful telephone interviews include:

  • Be prepared. Be ready and available for the call ten minutes in advance of the scheduled time.  Have your company research completed and your list of questions available.  Be prepared to share your accomplishments and relevant experience without reading it.  Keep the interview conversational.  Ensure that you have a clear connection.
  • A smile changes your voice in a positive way.  It helps you radiate friendliness, interest and confidence.  Keep a mirror by the phone to remind yourself to smile throughout your interview.
  • Ensure that you have a quiet environment without interruptions so you can focus on the conversation.  Turn off call-waiting.  Eliminate background noise and disruptions.  Speak at a normal pace and carefully enunciate your words.  Give specific examples to highlight your experience.
  • Reference Materials. Have your resume, cover letter and the job description readily available in case you need to refer to them.  Don’t make the interviewer wait while you search for a document.  Also have your calendar handy in case you are asked to schedule an in person interview.
  • Nerves can cause your throat to get dry.  Have a bottle of water accessible but be sure to keep it where you are not likely to knock it over.  Take a sip when necessary to maintain your voice.
  • Demonstrate Interest. Deliver a strong closing statement to reinforce your strong interest in the position and to summarize your qualifications.  Be sure to ask about the next steps in the process and request contact information for your contact so you can send a thank you note.

Telephone interviews won’t land you the job but they earn you the opportunity to advance in the process.  Make the most of your telephone interviews to increase your success in your job search.



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