Phone interviews are usually the first step an employer will take in the hiring process. These are usually less formal than face-to-face interviews and are used to break the ice and get a general feel for your personality type.
The trick to nailing a phone interview and landing a face-to-face is to not psych yourself out. Convince yourself that you are the best person for the job!
Here are five steps to ace a phone interview:
1. Get Out of Your PJs
You are interviewing for a job, not chatting with your best friend, so put some real clothes on and find a quiet place where you can focus. You want to sound relaxed but not too relaxed, if you know what I mean.
I’m not saying you have to “dress up” for a phone interview - though some suggest doing so - but at least put some shorts and a t-shirt on. You’ll feel more confident and less stressed if you feel that you are dressed “presentably.”
The interviewer will notice, too. They will hear the confidence and focus in your voice and will be more likely to invite you in for a face-to-face interview.
2. Treat It Like a Face-to-Face
While your interviewer won’t actually be able to see you over the phone, they will definitely get a sense for who you are during the course of the interview. Like I mentioned above, make yourself look presentable and find a quiet place free of distractions. You don’t want the interviewer to hear your T.V. in the background or your dog barking and you certainly don’t want them to hear your roommates fighting.
Treat it like a face-to-face. Give the interview your undivided attention and speak with confidence to increase your chances of getting a second one.
3. Let the Interviewer Talk First
The biggest mistake a lot of first-time job seekers make is trying to “turn the tables” and dominate the interview. While this might work once you are further along in your career, it is best to let the interviewer do most of the talking this time.
Let them set the stage and ask you a couple questions, first. Take this opportunity to learn about the job expectations, what the culture is like and why the person before you left.
Listen for your cue to speak and definitely don’t cut the interviewer off mid-sentence. You will get your chance to ask questions at the end, so just be polite and patient until it is your turn.
4. Stay Positive
Try to remain upbeat and positive throughout the interview. Don’t go on a rant about how your last boss was a jerk and why you hated your co-workers. Instead, tell them that it “wasn’t a good fit.”
Phone interviews are your first - and possibly last - chance to make a good impression, so don’t mess up. Be happy, energetic and make sure to mention how excited you are to do a face-to-face interview and visit the office in-person.
5. Send a Thank You Email
After you finish your phone interview, wait an hour or two and send the interviewer a short email thanking them for their time and for giving you an opportunity to speak with them. Mention once more how excited you are to meet them in person and learn more about the company.
Wait a week and send them another follow-up email. If they don’t respond to this one, send them one more another week later. Don’t send more than two follow-up emails, though. If they don’t respond to the second one, chances are, it just wasn’t a good fit.
Cheer up, there are plenty of jobs out there and the perfect one is waiting for you to find it.
Practice, Practice, Practice
You won’t get every job you interview for, but that’s OK. Remember that practice makes perfect and try to nail the next one. It just takes confidence, positivity and basic communication skills to land that second interview.
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