Whether it's in an office, at a cafe, over the phone, or on the moon (that's where NASA interviews candidates, right?), job interviews are not exactly on top of most people's fun lists. Well, maybe if more of them were on the moon. No matter how confident or rehearsed you are in the art of interviewing, job interview tips so you don't totally blow it are always helpful. And in today's world of technological conveniences, an increasing amount of job interviews are conducted over the phone.
Like anything, phone interviews have their pros and cons. A phone interview, Skype interview, face-to-face interview — no one is easier or more difficult than the other. It makes sense to think of any sort of interview that doesn't have to be done in person as easier because yes — you won't need to travel to any intimidating office, and the interviewer won't be able to see just how nervous and sweaty you are up close.
But because of this, it becomes a lot more tempting to take a phone interview for granted. Whether it's making the common mistake of playing it too casual on the phone, as pointed out on Lightspeed, or being overly prepared — here are seven things to remember in order to ace your next phone interview.
1. Know That Your Voice Is Key
You just have to make sure it's the right key. Because your interviewer won't be able to see your face, your voice literally says it all. All of the things an interviewer may have otherwise been able to read from the expression on your face, or even the way you're sitting, now rely solely on your voice (and the words you're saying with that voice, of course). In fact, according to The Muse, the number one mistake job candidates make on phone interviews is sounding tired, bored, or disengaged.
Paul Bailo, CEO of Phone Interview Pro. and author of The Essential Phone Interview Handbook told Business Insider you should practice your voice before an interview so that it sounds clear, confident and rejuvenated. He suggested practicing different tones, and singing to stretch out your vocal muscles.
2. Remember That Body Language Is Still Important
You may think you can get away with lounging on your coach and breezing through this interview, but believe it or not, your body language has its way of communicating itself over the phone. Everything goes back to that number one point up there — your voice. If you've set yourself up like you're going to be Netflix-and-chilling for the next few hours in your bed, it's going to be very difficult to sound remotely engaged or professional. For Career Confidential, Peggy McKee pointed out the importance of phone interview body language, such as: standing up to help project your voice and feel more confident, walking around to get out that nervous energy (though not too much), sitting up straight to help you breathe better and sound more attentive, and practicing relaxed body language with minimal fidgeting.
3. Be Aware Of Your Environment
Keep in mind that whatever background noise is going on around you, is most likely going to be heard over the phone. And your interviewer will be judging. Because they're going off of everything they hear on that phone. So make sure it's nothing that will hurt any chances of making a good impression. As Alison Green pointed out for US News, not only does a noisy and disruptive background come across as unprofessional and as if you're not taking the opportunity seriously, but it also will harm your ability to focus. So find a quiet place where you can concentrate, get comfortable, and rock that interview.
4. Keep In Mind That Dressing Up Helps
While it may be tempting to alleviate a stressful situation with a pair of slippers and a bathrobe, it may actually do you more harm than good. Because you don't want to get too comfortable during something as important as a job interview. Dressing the part will help you "get into character" more, if you will. According to The Muse, dressing up will help put you in the right mindset to be professional. By just looking more professional, you'll feel more professional and that will carry over in how you conduct yourself.
5. Don't Look In The Mirror
Bailo also advised against looking in the mirror during a phone interview because you may become too focused on your own reflection rather than the interview. He also added that this tends to make people smile more, which makes your speech sound unnatural. That doesn't mean you can't smile, but it's good to treat this as you would a regular in-person interview, by doing your best to set up similar circumstances — aka you probably wouldn't be chilling in front of a mirror because that's just weird.
6. Take Advantage Of Cheat Sheets
As Forbes contributor Judith A. Stock pointed out, phone interviews are a lot like open book tests. This is the time to hone in on the privilege of having your resume and cover letter in front of you, any research you've pulled up about the company and the position, and even some more trusty job interview tips you can reference. The thing to be careful about here is to keep it natural and not make it sound like you're reading from a script. As Green suggested, use your notes to prompt you to remember information you want to cover, or to use language for answering difficult questions.
7. Know The Phone Basics: Landline, Good Connection, Charged Phone
And of course, by all means, please make sure your phone is charged or that you have good coverage. To play it safe, you could always use a landline. Just make sure to inform any and all other people who also happen to use that phone not to use it during that time.
My dad once accidentally interrupted an interview I was in the middle of and though it didn't totally ruin my chances, I definitely lost my train of thought, plus had to quickly think of a way to professionally salvage the situation. It's just unnecessary stress you could do without.
Harness these phone interview tips so the next time your hotline bling, that could only mean one thing — you've scored yourself a solid job opportunity.
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