How To Prepare For A Telephone Interview

Phone interviews are quite common. They are often employed when potential employees live miles away from their company headquarters or the interviewer. For example, a company might want to stay true to their corporate social responsibility of reducing greenhouse gases by conducting remote interviews instead of asking the applicant to drive or commute to their headquarters. Whatever the reason, applicants who want to bag the position might well remember the following:

  1. Know the company. Since you’ve gotten their attention sufficiently enough to merit an interview, spend some time on researching your prospective employer. Researching areas such as the company’s organizational structure, business interests, operations and market can give you an idea of how things are done at the company. These areas can also form the basis of your questions, if you have any.

  2. Choose the proper setting and equipment. You may choose to stay in a bedroom, study or any other room as long as you are not distracted. Keep your resume at hand for easy reference as well as any notepads where you can jot important details. Use a landline phone if available, in favour of a mobile phone to ensure better reception.

  3. Be readily available. Since you already have the schedule for the telephone interview, cancel all other activities to ensure that you’re not interrupted. Also, turn off the call waiting function of your phone so that you do not get distracted.

  4. Remember your phone etiquette. These include: speaking slowly and clearly enough for your words to be understood, not eating while you are on the phone and smiling. Smiling injects an amiable personality to your voice and overall attitude. You may choose to stand or at least sit properly so your diaphragm is not constricted and that there is proper airflow in your lungs as you speak. Do not lose your breath.

  5. Use a headset - Your interview may run longer than expected. Wearing a headset will save you the hassle of holding up your phone to your ear throughout or manually pressing a button by mistake. This would also free up your hands to take down the points you would like to discuss.

  6. Ask for clarification if you don’t understand the question or did not hear the question properly - don’t allow yourself to get flustered.

  7. Sound enthusiastic

  8. Keep a glass of water near you - you just might need it.

  9. Turn off call waiting to prevent interruptions

  10. Don’t interrupt the interviewer

  11. Mobile phones for business purposes can only be used for interviews if you are the owner. Otherwise, it is better to use your personal telephone line for the interview.

  12. Thank the Interviewer. When the interview is winding down and you have been given a chance to raise your own questions, thank the interviewer for his/her time. This stage gives you the opportunity to clarify the next steps to take following the telephone interview.

Preparing for a telephone interview may seem less stressful than preparing for a face-to-face one.  Nevertheless, prepare for it because it can make or break your chances of landing the job.


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