Creating a Successful Phone Interview

by Jan Hazekamp

A little common sense and planning can go a long way to facilitate phone interviews. It’s something that both the interviewer and the candidate can keep in mind to help get a great first impression.

Be prepared to have the call at the scheduled time. It’s just as important to be on time for a phone interview as it is for an in-person interview. Both have arranged schedules to talk at a specific time and time is important to both. If you must cancel or reschedule the appointment, notify the other party in advance. It makes a better impression than being a no-show.

Make sure any devices are charged and keep the power cords handy. Turn off notifications on your mobile device and mute the sound on nearby devices. The beep, beep, beep when your battery is running low and the voice cut-off while you’re speaking every time a notification arrives are avoidable. Clear and uninterrupted connections make for easier communication and reduce time and potential frustration having to repeat information.

Have the call in a quiet location with no distractions. The background noise of office, traffic, a café, children or pets can speak volumes to the person on the other end of the call and distract you as well.

If you’ll be interviewing on a mobile device, be sure to watch for incoming voicemail around the time scheduled. Sometimes busy service provider circuits or bandwidth issues can temporarily prevent a call from ringing through directly, while a voice message will still get delivered. Watch for that possibility and if you do get the voice message instead, call the other party back as soon as you receive the message.

Avoid giving a phone number for the interview that has call forwarding or answering services where the party calling has to first identify who they are in response to an automated message and is placed on hold while the service sees if you are available.

Identify yourself by name when you answer the call. You would introduce yourself by name in person and this works well for phone interviews.

Your voice and how you speak are making an important first impression. It’s a greater factor without the body language that would contribute in person. Your voice inflection can play a role in conveying that you are someone of potential interest to the other and that you are interested.

With just a little thought and preparation you can set the stage for an impressive and professional experience.
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