How To Prepare for Phone Interviews

There are few things in life that cause as much trepidation as the job interview. While the job seeker may think that he has "dodged a bullet" by having been granted a telephone interview, the need for due diligence and preparation for this type of interview is no less than that of a face-to-face interview. Here are a few tips that might make your telephone interview run more smoothly.

  1. Be prepared. You will be asked many of the same questions on a telephone interview as you would during a face-to-face interview. You must be ready to answer questions about your past experience, your short- and long-term goals, your strengths and weaknesses, and situations you've handled in the past. You need to know the company with whom you are interviewing as well. You will most assuredly be asked what you know about the company, and what prompted you to want to work for them.
  2. Dress for success. What? Dress for a telephone interview? Yes. When you are dressed professionally and look your best, you feel your best. This will be conveyed over the telephone. You can hear and feel someone's self-confidence even if they can't be seen, and employers prefer to hire those who are confident about their ability to perform the job.
  3. Smile. Just as your dress changes how you project over the telephone, so to does your smile. In fact sales training courses teach potential sales people to smile on telephone sales calls because a "smile can be heard" over the phone. When you smile you release endorphins, strong mood-altering chemicals, into your blood stream. These chemicals cause you to feel more relaxed, comfortable, and even confident, and they cause physiological reactions such as the relaxing of your vocal chords. Relaxed vocal chords produce a different sound from tensed vocal chords, and it is this that the interviewer picks up on.
  4. Have your "cheat sheets" in front of you. This is the one area of advantage that you, as the interviewee, have with a telephone interview versus a face-to-face interview. You can have your resume, possible questions with answers, and any other relevant information about you at your finger tips for quick reference. Particularly work on preparing answers to difficult questions. Don't read those answers when asked, but use them like you would note cards for a speech as a prompt or mnemonic.
  5. Be comfortable. If possible, make sure you are in a room or office free of distractions where you can speak freely. It's not a good idea to schedule an interview at your home with your children running around, or in your office where you might be receiving other phone calls, knocks at the door, or general intrusions. This is not only unprofessional, it will throw you off of your train of thought. You don't bring your family and co-workers to a face-to-face interview; don't bring them to your telephone interview.


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