Many companies use telephone screening as a cost-effective tool and if you are interviewing for a position in another location, it will be the rule and not the exception. Telephone screening enables companies to screen out candidates whose qualifications and sincere interest are questionable. Telephone interviewing is impartial. One candidate does not have visual advantage over another. Voice content and tone are the important factors. How well does the candidate express him/herself? How well does he/she listen? Does the candidate ask quality questions? Is there excitement about the prospect of visiting the company? Prepare for a telephone interview as you would for an in-person interview.
Listed below are some key points to keep in mind and are different/even more important for a telephone interview than an in-person interview.
- Arrange a time that is mutually agreeable so you can speak freely with no distractions. If you are called unexpectedly and the time is inconvenient, ask the caller if it is possible to talk at a more convenient time.
- Allow sufficient time.
- Do not drink, smoke, chew gum, eat, chew on a pencil, chew tobacco or do anything else that will interfere with your voice.
- Even though they can't see you, you may want to dress up for the phone interview, as it may make you feel more professional and thus resonate in your tone.
- Have a pad and pencil in front of you to take notes with prepared questions.
- Listen carefully, do not interrupt, and pause to collect your thoughts before launching into your answer. Do not talk too softly or too loudly.
- Smile, it comes through over the phone.
- Modulate your voice to emphasize points.
- Keep your answers concise and to the point. Rambling answers lose the listener.
- Remember that word choice, pitch, modulation, and other verbal clues signify intelligence, alertness, and enthusiasm. The telephone magnifies subtleties that may go unnoticed in face to face discussions. Voice inflection gives color and texture to ordinary words.
- Ask for the next step. "I know that you're busy. There is only so much that we can measure on the phone, based on my background and what needs to be done for this job, I believe that I can add value and am interested in this opportunity. I would like to go ahead and set up a face-to-face meeting?What are your thoughts?"
How do these thoughts resonate with you? Anything you'd like to add? Join the conversation, your comments are encouraged.