So you have an amazing resume and have pressed your killer professional garbs to perfection….you’re ready, right? Not so fast, grasshopper, first you must conquer the dreaded phone interview before you get the golden ticket admitting you into the in-person interview round. With the rise of the global economy comes more cross-border hiring. In this situation, the initial phone interview becomes increasingly more important. So how do you own this little pre-screening ritual without coming off as an Awkward Annie? No worries, Brooklyn Reader has you covered with 5 sure-fire tips to whip you into shape before the big day.
- Set the scene. Find a comfortable and quiet place to take the call. Preferable somewhere you’re able to lock the door. Get rid of any extra noises or interruptions, like outside noises or your roommate’s signature “I’m home b&*%!es” entrance. If it’s an option, use a landline to avoid dropped calls and service issues. If there’s no other option, though, make sure you’re cell phone is fully charged and set up in a location with optimal bars.
- Say cheese. To make sure you don’t sound bored try smiling while you talk. I know, it sounds silly, but just trust me here. Take it one step further and place a mirror on the desk so you can see your facial expressions during the call. You’d be surprised how much the look on your face changes the emotion in your voice. Keep your voice pleasant and your throat in top shape by placing a glass of water or tea within arm’s reach during the interview.
Resume Whisper Bonus: A phone interview is like an open-book test, use it to your advantage. Tape a copy of your notes, the job posting, and notes at eye-level in the area where you’ll be participating in the interview. If you’ll be at a computer, having the documents pulled up and ready will also work.
- Stick to the 3 Cs: Be concise, concentrate, and be courteous. Typically phone interviews are shorter than the ones in-person so you have less time to wow your interviewer. In order to hold their attention throughout the call keep your answers short but impactful and thorough.
Keep your focus during the call be taking notes to prepare your answers and thoughts. Now is not the time to clean out your inbox or catch up on candy crush. The last thing you need is to space out and look silly. Do your best to listen closely for opportunities to shine.
When in doubt, keep it professional and polite. No matter if you bomb completely or rock it, express your interest in the position, leave them with a takeaway on why you’re perfect, and thank them for their time. The final words of the call will be the most remembered so make them count.
Resume Whisper Bonus: Know your weaknesses and be prepared to minimize or skew them. Whether you’re an older candidate or you have large gaps in your experience, find a way to turn a negative into a positive. When in doubt, answer the questions in the most non defensive, factual way possible and soldier forward.
- Follow up. Number three and four go hand in hand. You want to show the interviewer that you care without looking thirsty. Wait 24 to 48 hours after the call and then go in for the kill. Send an email to your contact and anyone else you spoke with thanking them again for the opportunity and quickly summing up the most important points you talked about. Make the most of the subject of the email by listing your name and the position in which you’re interviewing for. If you want the job, now’s the time to make it clear.
- Now the real work begins. There will likely be a lot more steps in the process before you get anywhere near an offer letter and it’s important to be on point for whatever they throw at you. Revisit your research and make sure you know about the ins and outs of the company and any recent research or news related to not only them but the industry as a whole. This is where the weed-out process will begin and something as small as your confidence, communication style, or preparation can be the difference between you and the next guy.