Saturday, January 26, 2008

10 Ways to Ace the Phone Interview

The phone interview or phone screening is really an important part of the job search. Blow the phone interview or phone screening and your chances of going further as a job candidate are slim.

Phone interviews have become a practical way for recruiters to narrow the field of candidates while keeping recruiting costs down. It is a great way to screen the initial field of candidates and make some preliminary decisions about setting up face-to-face meetings or to terminate the jobseekers' candidacy.

1. Find a quiet spot to do your phone interview. The last thing you want is to have distracting noises in the background, be they children, pets, music or just a noisy street.

2. Do not accept phone interview calls at your current work place or office, during working hours.

3. If you are using your cell phone, find a place where signal strength is strong and stay there until you finish the call.

4. Speak clearly and watch your tone and energy level. One seasoned recruiter from a Big 4 Accounting firm shared with me that job seekers who sounded drowsy or low energy usually were not called again.

5. Be professional and polite in your phone interview. If you are on a speaker phone, acknowledge everyone who is listening to you.

6. Watch your use of slang.

7. Listen carefully. Since you are not in front of the recruiter, you can't read their body language so it is very important that you listen carefully and answer clearly.

8. Ask questions in the phone interview. The most important question you should ask is to schedule the face-to-face interview which gets you closer to the job you seek.

9. Smile. Your pleasant persona will actually come across over the phone. A fellow call center manager with whom I worked several years ago actually kept a mirror in her desk drawer. You knew she was on the phone with an irate customer when she took it out.

10. Be very clear about the next steps when you get off the phone. Wrap up by clarifying details about the next steps for you as a job applicant. Do not get off the phone before restating your interest in the position.

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