Phone Interview

Image depicting a Phone InterviewThe phone interview is one of the most important ways that employers use to determine the eligibility of potential candidates. These interviews are given to those applicants that happen to catch the employer’s eye. While appearing informal and even inconsequential the phone interview is an important step in being hired. You should never take this interview lightly. Handle it as you would a face to face interview in a professional and polite manner.

Tips for Telephone Interviews

As with any interview having a professional demeanor and attitude is the best way to make a good impression. Since this interview is done sight unseen you should focus on word choice, pauses, and tones. You never want to seem in a hurry or exasperated that you are even receiving a phone call.

Remember to be

  • Polite
  • Courteous
  • Articulate
  • Coherent
  • Eager
  • Interested

The phone interview can be given at any time with no warning. It is designed to gauge the level of interest you have in the position you applied for. If you receive a phone call from the employer make sure to treat it as you would a face to face interview. Take time to answer all questions clearly yet briefly. You will want your answers to be knowledgeable and succinct since the average interview given over the phone last only ten minutes.

The key to this interview is to understand that it is used to thin out the crowd of potential applicants. Having a successful phone interview is a key step in getting hired.

The phone interview will most likely be given by someone from the human resource department or a representative of the employer. Rarely is it the actual employer that administers this interview so you will not necessarily have to worry about the added stress of having ‘the boss’ speaking with you. Never the less you will still want to treat the person on the other end of the line in a professional manner. Remember, if you fail to impress the interviewer you may not be given a face to face meeting.

The Interview

There are three parts to the phone interview that you should be aware of, the introduction, middle, and follow up interview. By analyzing how you handle and respond to each part will give the interviewer some insight into whether or not a face to face interview will be worth their time.

The introduction is where the interviewer simply introduces the company and representative and why they are calling. Your response will let the interviewer know how interested you are in the position you applied for and if you have any additional knowledge about the company. This is the time to establish yourself as a knowledgeable applicant.

During the middle portion of the interview you will be asked a series of questions. These questions will most likely be repeated during the physical interview. You should still answer these questions to the best of your ability and in a calm and confident manner.

If the phone interview was a successful one you should receive a date and time for a follow up interview. Do not be afraid to suggest a different time or day if the one you are given does not work for you.

It is also possible to reschedule the interview given over the phone if you are unable to dedicate the necessary time to answer the questions. Try to reschedule on the same day if possible. You do not want to seem completely unprepared to answer questions about yourself or your desire to be hired with the company. Rescheduling for the same day will demonstrate that yes, you are interested it is just a bad time to reach you by telephone.

Remember to display the same courtesy and manners that you would normally have during a physical interview. Just because you are answering questions for a phone interview does not mean that the interview is an important step towards employment.

Adapted From The Everything Job Interview Book, 2nd Edition by Joy Darlington and Nancy Schuman, Copyright © 2008, 2001 by F W Media, Inc., published by Adams Media, a division of F W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

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