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As we’ve discussed previously, conquering the phone interview is the first step in landing a new job. Telephone interviews can be a major pitfall, though, for the unprepared candidate. Here are 7 more tips for helping you clear this first hurdle with ease:

  • Create your focus What’s the most important point you need to get across during the interview? How your experience relates to the position and how you’ll fit within the company. Figure out how you’ll answer questions in this area, then write down your key points so you’re sure to cover them. Just don’t read them word for word—you’ll sound scripted!
  • Nail down the details What time is the interview? Is the interviewer calling you, or are you placing the call? Does everyone have each other’s phone number? Make sure to get the correct spelling of your interviewer’s name and their contact information—which will also make it easier to follow up with a thank-you note.
  • Slow down. Especially if you tend to talk quickly, be sure to speak a little more slowly and clearly than usual during the interview.
  • Don’t be afraid to listen quietly Because you can’t be seen nodding, you may feel like you should acknowledge you’re listening to the interviewer by interjecting words like “right” and “I understand” while the interviewer is talking. But on the phone, these noises can disrupt the flow of the conversation, be distracting or make it sound like you’re not actually listening, and possibly come across as rude.
  • Ask for clarification Even the best phone connections can lack clarity. And without being able to see your interviewer, you’ll be missing out on body language that might have helped you understand something said.  If you’re not sure what your interviewer said at any point, or if you’re unsure what he or she means, ask them to repeat. Then try to paraphrase what they said, to be sure you’re understanding correctly.
  • Don’t be afraid to pause Don’t feel you have to leap right in and answer a question the moment the interviewer has asked it. Take a moment to think about your answer so that it is clear and concise, to avoid rambling. And try to briefly pause during your answer so the interviewer can expand on the question if need be.
  • Finish strong At the end of the interview, the interviewer will probably ask if you have any questions. Make sure you do! Prepare a list of at least five questions that show you’d done your homework, that you are prepared, and that you are interested in the position,

Without the pressure to shake hands right or dress in unfamiliar formal clothing, a phone interview can be a lot easier than an in-person meeting. Make the most of the opportunity by following these tips—and if you’d like more, feel free to contact the team at Smith Hanley.

Looking for more information on phone interviewing? Read our related blog post today:


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