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Tips for acing the phone interview

A phone interview is often the only means by which you'll get that in-person interview. Here are some tips for doing it right.

Don't be lulled into thinking that a phone interview is easier than an in-person interview. Actually, a phone interview is often the only means by which you'll get that in-person interview. Here are some tips for doing it right.

Set the stage for the interview

If you know when the call is coming, make sure your environment is temporarily devoid of any distractions like barking dogs or crying babies. (It may be my imagination, but it seems like picking up a telephone always seemed to trigger some interruption mechanism in my dogs and my son. Even my cat, though quiet, would climb up to loll on my resume or bat my pen around as I tried to write.) As such, I always had to make my surrounding virtually soundproof, and tamperproof, before a phone interview or a meeting.)

Some people think that since an interviewer can't see them, it doesn't matter how they're dressed. And it may not. But some people get a psychological boost from being dressed professionally or at least by kicking off the bunny slippers. Of course, many people think they communicate better when they feel casual. If you're one of those people, then proceed accordingly.

Have the right tools handy

Have your resume in front of you, as well as a list of questions you would like to ask the interviewer. Sometimes in the heat of the moment, it's easy to forget things you wanted to ask.

Check your demeanor

It's fairly inevitable that you will be nervous, but try to slow down when you speak so that what you have to say is easily understandable. Also, you won't have the benefit of body language cues to help interpret your meaning, so try not to make jokes.They can be easily misconstrued.

Remain calm and patient during silences

Remember that the interviewer will pause now and then to take notes on what you're saying, so long silences should be expected. Don't nervously try to fill the void with small talk or jabber.

Consult a cheat sheet

TechRepublic offers a free phone interview cheat sheet that is geared toward IT managers. However, you can use it to see what kinds of questions might be asked of you.

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About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

9 comments
oreojack
oreojack

This is great info, but the link to the phone interview cheat sheet isn't working. Is there another location for it?

sandraondp
sandraondp

The success of a phone interview depends upon the voice quality also. I mean not all of us have a quality voice like a sports commentator. Second thing is ur pronunciation of the words that are used in ur relative field.

Kam Guerra
Kam Guerra

This is an HR nutroll that should be eliminated, but it justifies a few jobs in HR (recruiter, sr recruiter, recruiter manager, technical recruiter, sr technical recruiter, technical recruiter manager) so it's just something that has to be powered through. Definately have your resume in front of you. The HR guys are reading from their script and you need to have yours ready too.

ivoyhip
ivoyhip

Great tips. I am a person who is working now but I am looking to move on. Many hiring managers called me during my office hours. First, I am a bit worry that my co-workers of my existing job will figure out I am looking for new job. Second, It is hard for me to have my resume ready with me in this situation. Third, I cannot set my expectation of when this kind of phone calls take place. Can you give me some advice please?

benr71
benr71

These are very handy tip bits. Thanks for your great work. Personally i don't fancy phone interviews, but with these information i think i will be very well equipped next time around

firesnake77
firesnake77

Great tips - I would also add, try to do the interview on a land line and not a cell phone, if at all possible. If the manager has to struggle to hear you, or if either side misunderstands the other, that can end the interview right away.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

You already gave them your work number.

ivoyhip
ivoyhip

I only gave them my cell number.

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