Phone interviews are so common today, that a good set of phone interview tips are vital. With an average of 28-40 applications per online vacancy* and 69 per graduate vacancy**, phone interviews are a preferred way of getting this number down to a handful for a face to face interview.
When you’re competing with 30 other candidates equally capable of doing the job, the issue is no longer how good you say you are, because everyone says they’re the best. The real issue is how relevant you can make yourself to your interviewer, at a personal level. Find out how you can do this here.
Meanwhile, phone interviews pose some unique difficulties you wouldn’t come across in a face to face interview. So here are some really useful phone interview tips to help you safely navigate these tricky waters.
Phone Interview Tips – Preparation
1. Arrange a time
Captain Obvious, reporting for duty. This is actually a really important point though, and well worth mentioning. A time will usually be pre-arranged, but if it isn’t, make sure you request one. Not only will it communicate that you’re busy, it will also give you the space you need to prepare for every eventuality.
2. Choose your location
Make sure you have quiet, isolated space for the duration of the call. Remove the possibility of interruptions. Most important of all, test your signal reception in advance if you plan to use a mobile phone. Make a few test calls with friends to make sure you can receive calls, and hear each other clearly.
And while we’re on the subject of mobile phones, check your outgoing voicemail message. Make sure it says the right thing about you!
3. Pimp it out
4. Adopt a Power Stance
The way you sit or stand will not only affect the quality of your voice, but also what you say.
Your posture is directly linked to your thinking. If you’re sitting or slouching as if you’re watching TV, your brain will start to relax. You’ll find it difficult to think on your feet and recall all those great answers you’ve been rehearsing.
But if you’re ready to go, you’re brain will know it’s time to work.
Try standing up, and maybe even walk a little. Not only will your words sound clearer, but the mental stimulation will keep your brain active.
Phone Interview Tips – During the Call
1. Speak clearly
Another obvious one. But here’s something not so obvious – try to speak at the same pace your interviewer speaks at.
We tend to speak at the same rate we understand things. A fast talker will find themselves frustrated with a slow talker, and a slow talker will find it hard to keep up with a fast talker.
This also helps with rapport. So practice this with people you meet until you get used to it.
2. Take your time
It’s okay to pause and ask for a moment to think about the question. Expect silences – you’re obviously going to experience them in this kind of phone conversation.
3. Go for the win
Give your answers as completely as you would in a face to face interview. Don’t feel that you need to hurry or give short answers just because it’s a phone interview. This is your time to secure that face to face interview.
4. Be enthusiastic, and smile!
Not only will smiling affect tone of your voice, but it too will affect your thinking. It will help to prevent you from feeling flustered or overwhelmed.
Final Phone Interview Tip
When you meet someone, your body language, voice tone and the words you say contribute to the opinion they have of you. In some situations, your non-verbal communication has more of an effect on someone than the words themselves.
How will you take control of your non verbal communication, to convey to your interviewer that you’re someone of true worth? After all, if you say you’re perfect but everything else about you communicates that you’re out of your depth, which do you think they’re most likely to go with? Click here.
In a phone interview, where they can’t see you, your voice tone and quality becomes all the more important.
To massively improve the quality of your voice, breathe from your diaphragm.
If you’re not sure where that is or how to do that, put your hand on your belly now and cough. The thing you feel kicking out is your diaphragm.
When you breathe, breathe all the way from down here. And when you talk, push air out through your mouth starting from here.
It’s pure voice magic.
It will improve the quality of your voice, and make you sound much more authoritative. Try it now.
And as an added bonus, it will even out the effect of nerves on your voice. When you’re nervous, your heart rate increases. You become more aware of it and feel it in your chest. If you’re breathing from here as you talk, you’ll feel your voice falter. But if you’re pushing air from your diaphragm and through your chest as you talk, the effect on your voice is eliminated.
How’s that for a gift that keeps on giving?
Final Phone Interview Tip…for real this time
Make it as easy on yourself as possible. Obviously job interviews are stressful, so don’t make things any harder than they should be. If you haven’t already, sign up for my free 5-day video e-course, Secret Psychological Interview Tactics, at the top of this page.
* Source: Personnel Today
** Source: The Association of Graduate Recruiters, 2010