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How to Master a Phone Interview

By Kinexus on 16 August 2016

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Popular theory has it that the modern day workforce is more mobile/dislocated/time poor. This may explain why more first round interviews are being conducted over the phone.

Before addressing the topic of this blog, I would just like to remind you to treat any and all phone contact with a prospective employer as an interview. The person calling to set up a face to face interview, or just to clarify a detail on your CV, will form an opinion of you. This matters because that person will often volunteer or be asked for their thoughts on you by the person who will actually interview you.

Location, location, location
Plan to be in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed by kids, the boss, low flying air crafts, etc.

Communications
Where possible, use a landline. They are less likely to drop out and are almost always clearer.

Prior Preparation
Just because it’s phone based, doesn’t mean you can afford to skimp on the preparation.

Phone interviews are just as important as a face to face and come with their own set of pros & cons that if you navigate correctly, will ensure you nail that interview.

PROS

  • A phone interview is a little like an open book exam in that you can have material in front of you that may help you respond to questions. HOWEVER, remember that only about 2% of the population can effectively do two things at once, so unless you are a fighter pilot just concentrate on the interviewer and do all of your preparatory and web-based investigation before the interview.
  • The other main pro is that you can afford to relax a little. You can wear whatever you like and set yourself up in familiar surroundings. but please don’t sprawl yourself out on the couch as this will likely have a discernible influence on your tone of voice. Sit at a desk, or even try standing.

CONS

  • The one big con is that both you and the interviewers can’t read each others body language. Make sure that you are clear on the questions being asked, and even ask for feedback. Also, believe it or not but even though they can’t see you, a smile can definitely be heard.
  • The other con is that neither party can do anything visual such as draw diagrams/write lists, etc. You can use technology to negate this, plan your communication accordingly, or agree to keep that part of the interview for a face to face scenario.

Take phone interviews seriously, they aren’t just ‘chats’.

Good luck.

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