How do You Nail That Telephone Interview?

Think about how you answer the phone. Do you have a practiced opening or do you just simply use “hello”? Whatever your opening is, rest assured that employers are already evaluating. You may think that a telephone call is just to inform you of the where and when for an interview, but many times, employers are taking notes as well.

It is an unrealistic expectation for you to always be ready when picking up calls from unknown numbers, but here are a few tips that can help you win some points:

  • Answer the phone appropriately. This means “hello, _____ speaking” or just “hello”. No “sup”, or “yeah”, or “uh huh”. These little non-committed grunts are not professional and they are immediate turn offs for employers.
  • Don’t be pressing keys or doing other things on your cell phone. If your setting has not been customized, it is likely that the employer will hear whatever you’re doing or they’ll be bombarded with noises of consistent key pressing. Not professional.
  • Listen for the interviewer’s name and remember it. Also, ask the interviewer how they’re doing, this will show them that you are courteous and warm.
  • Really listen to the interviewer and let them finish their sentence before you jump in with your answer. Calm your nerves by practicing deep breathing.
  • It is also unrealistic to expect that you have your resume on you at all times, but it is advisable that you know your resume. Often, employers will ask you questions about your resume, knowing what they’re referring to will set you on the right path.

Does this mean that you’re always available for an employer no matter the date, time, or location? No. If you’re not available, then you’re not available. Instead of picking up a phone call when you know it’s going to be cut off, or if you were somewhere loud, then let it go to voicemail. No employer will appreciate repeating themselves again and again or being cut off abruptly.

On that note, it is also vital that you have a professional voicemail. State your name and ask them to call back; nothing with songs, or jokes, or obscure, inappropriate references that will only confuse employers and leave them wondering about your professionalism.

It is always preferable for you to make the first telephone appointment, but if you picked up an employer’s call and really could not carry on the conversation, just let the employer know. There is no need to come up with an excuse or tell them your life story to explain why you’re not available. Sometimes, just simply letting the employer know that you’re not at an ideal location and didn’t want the conversation to be interrupted will suffice. Reschedule for a later date and time, and make sure that you definitely will be able to make it.

Just remember that employers are screening candidates based on their telephone manners and the kind of first impression you give over the phone. Keeping in mind to be professional and courteous will help you along the way of landing that job!

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