Tips To Get Called Back
Some people think phone interviews are easier than in-person ones.
Often, those people are wrong.
In person, it's easy to tell if an interviewer is tuning you out if
you notice them staring off into space or sending messages on their
BlackBerry. On the phone, you (and the interviewer) are missing out
on important visual cues. You can't read the interviewer's body
So, how can a job seeker really dial into an interviewer's demeanor
to tell if she's bored, distracted or underwhelmed?
Find a Happy Place
In the absence of sight, hearing becomes sharper. And interviewers
can easily hear distraction over the phone.
Once you've scheduled a phone interview, locate a calm, quiet place
where you can focus. Make sure you're not near a computer, TV or
anything that will draw your attention away from the interview. Tell
anyone who has access to the space that you are not to be disturbed
unless catastrophe strikes.
Next, have a pen and paper handy to take notes during your
interview. You should also have a copy of your resume so that when
the interviewer refers to your experience, you can both literally be
on the same page.
Finally, consider your attire, particularly if you're interviewing
from your home. It's your prerogative to wear sweats, but may we
suggest something closer to business attire? You'll feel more
professional -- and, thus, you'll sound more professional.
As soon as you answer the phone, you're on!
You want to start your phone interview off right. And, because the
interviewer can't see you, she's listening even more carefully.
Make a conscious effort to sound upbeat and enthusiastic.
Smile. Interviewers can hear you smile -- and smiling can put you in
a better state of mind. (Don't believe it? Try smiling when you're
in a bad mood.)
If you feel your confidence wane, stand up. Standing can make your
voice sound more powerful.
And always remember to breathe. It will help you stay calm and sound
Sounds of Silence
phone interview isn't just about speaking. It's about listening.
To listen carefully, try closing your eyes when the interviewer is
speaking so you can focus on what is being said.
This technique can also help you read the interviewer's mood. Is he
interested and enthusiastic, or bored and distracted? Is the
interview conversational? Are questions and answers flowing easily?
Listen hard after your responses. Did your response prompt
additional questions or make the interviewer hesitate?
If the interviewer seems distracted, use one of the powerful
questions you were saving for the "Do you have any questions?"
section of the interview. A well-chosen question can re-engage him
and put the interview back on track.
Practice Makes Perfect
The best way to prepare for a phone interview: Practice.
Have a friend play the role of interviewer on the phone.
Provide her with some practice questions to ask. Give her a copy of
your resume and have her come up with her own questions too.
Test different techniques while you're talking to her. Close your
eyes while listening, stand while talking, smile while speaking.
With her feedback, decide what works best.
You should also consider taping the conversation and listening to
yourself afterward. You may be very surprised by what you hear.
Finally, ask yourself, "Would I hire this person?"
If the answer isn't a resounding "yes," get back on the phone and
get better prepared.