How to prepare for a phone interview
Preparing for a phone interview can be tricky. On the surface, a phone interview seems like it is far more informal and less demanding than a face-to-face job interview. However, the fact of the matter is that just as crucial as an in-person interview, if not more. Companies and interviewers opt for the phone interview method because it is brief, saves them time, and allows them to decide whether or not they want to take you the next level of the in-person interview, especially if the company is located in another city.
Because the time that you have is limited, it becomes significantly more important to create a good impression on the phone so that you can be promoted to the next round. But without the guidance of the interviewer’s non-verbal cues (approving nods, disapproving frowns, and so on), it is difficult to gauge what the interviewer is thinking. It is also impolite to interrupt the interviewer with any thoughts and ideas that may strike you out of turn. Moreover, you cannot take too long to answer the questions you are asked. The questions, too, will be direct and precise, expecting you to respond just as crisply. Keeping all these constraints in mind, it becomes fairly evident that a phone interview shouldn’t be taken likely.
Here are some tips to ensure a successful phone interview.
Dress and ambience: While these may not seem like important things to pay attention to for the purpose of a phone interview, the way you dress and the location you choose for the phone call are crucial. To start with, choose a quiet room with minimal noise and distractions. Make sure to use a good quality phone and ensure that the location offers good connectivity. It may seem redundant to be dressed in any particular way for a phone interview, but it is fairly well- established that if you dress suitably (almost as you would for an in-person interview), your frame of mind will be better geared toward the interview and you will be able to concentrate better. It is advisable to stand up or to sit up at a desk (rather than relax in bed) during the phone interview. Keep some water within reach in case the interview lasts longer than expected.
Tone and etiquette: These two factors play an important role when the only interaction between you and the interviewer is over the phone. Keep your tone flat—do not let your anxiety, nervousness or excitement come across through your tone. Make sure to speak slowly, clearly and audibly. Do not interrupt the interviewer or speak out of turn. Avoid eating or drinking during the phone call.
Prepare adequately: A phone interview requires just as much preparation as an in-person interview. Keep your CV and other relevant documents handy. It is likely that the interviewer will ask you questions around the details mentioned on your CV. Prepare your answers for the anticipated interview questions. Jot down the things you would like to say about yourself (certain skills, experiences, etc.) and make sure to mention them when appropriate. As with any other interview, ensure that you have adequate information about the company and the role for which you have applied.
Keep your answers brief, to the point and authentic.
With the right setting and adequate preparation, the phone interview can be a pleasant and successful experience!
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Ajay Lamba September 25, 2014
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