Monday, February 13, 2012
Acing the Phone Interview
An increasing number of job applicants are finding themselves faced with an initial phone interview, sort of a hoop through which to jump before getting some face time with a hiring manager. Though daunting in that the medium itself strips conversation of crucial non-verbal cues, there are a few ways to make this experience into more enjoyable and successful.
First, set up the right physical environment. For most people, that’s a quiet space at home, a room where there will be no distractions or competing noise. That includes pets, so make sure Fluffy has settled nicely onto the living room couch for a sound nap. One additional advantage of choosing a bedroom for this conversation is that typically there’s a mirror on the wall. And since you will have no one to look at while speaking, it’s not a bad idea to look at yourself. A one person audience, as it were. Granted, this might feel weird and most people don’t take me up on this suggest but it definitely does work. Looking at someone with a smile on their face—even if it IS you!—is much more energizing than talking into the air.
Second, not enough can be said about being prepared. Research the company, google your interviewer, print out a copy of your resume, write out notes (another advantage of the phone interview—you can glance at your notes and no one will notice) and think through your answers before encountering the questions. This is especially true for phone interviews where silence seems to stretch out longer than in real life.
Finally, relax and be yourself. Smile—seriously, don’t neglect a smile—and forget about trying to be perfect. Look to connect with the person on the other end of the line. They are, after all, trying to solve the knotty problem of a vacant position and you might just be the one to make their day.