It’s normal for people to experience a bit of nerves before an interview. Learning how to stand out against other candidates can be tough. Phone interview’s seem to be more and more common as a first step in the interview process. And they can be tricky because you are not meeting someone face to face. Learning how to express yourself, your personality, strengths, key accomplishments over the phone – can sometimes throw people off!
From our experience in the field we’ve brainstormed some ways that can help set you up for success vs. failure, and hopefully have you hanging up the phone feeling like you knocked it out of the park!
Prepare Your Space:
Make sure that you are in a quiet space, with good cell reception, and where there will be no interruptions. No dogs barking, street noises, or disruptions from family members. Have your resume and the job description printed out in front of you as a guide in case they ask specific questions related to your background such as dates, time-frames and relevant experience. This is not the time to rest on your memory! In addition, have a pen and paper handy to take notes.
Know Your Value:
The fact that you have gotten an interview, means that the employer sees value in your experience and believes you can bring that value to their organization. Many times, the interview starts like this, “So tell me about yourself.” This is not the time to talk about how hard-working, punctual, or committed you are. Those are qualities an employer expects from you. This is the time to communicate your “talking points.” In each of your positions, write down on a piece of paper what your “added value” was in the role. Aside from your day-to-day responsibilities – what are you most proud of? Did you create something, streamline a process, save the company money, make the company money? When you have your talking points in front of you, it will help you not stammer or utter phrases such as, “Uhm,” “Like,” “Ya know,” or even avoid that dreaded silence.
Do Your Homework:
With LinkedIn, there is really no excuse to not do some research on the person who you will be interviewing with. Go to their page and learn a little about their background. Congratulate them on a recent promotion, or certificate they maybe just received. A simple, “I see you went to XYZ” school, I went to school in the same state. Maybe you have a hobby in common. Try to find some way to tie in a brief comment to let them know you took the initiative. And of course, it goes without saying, make sure you have done your due diligence on the company. Understanding who they are, what they are about, and the challenges the organization faces will help you show your genuine enthusiasm for the position.
There is no worse mistake you can make than when the interviewer asks you if you have any questions, you reply “I’m good. I don’t have any.” Always make sure you have your questions prepared ahead of time. Ask about the role, the challenges, what a day to day looks like. If you just google “great interview question,” a plethora of articles will pop up to give you ideas.
No Speaker Phone:
Please don’t even try it. You will sound like you are in a tunnel and if the person interviewing you has another person in on the call, they may have you on speaker phone. Speaker on speaker = I can’t hear or understand you.
Speak slowly and enunciate clearly:
Take your time! It is perfectly acceptable to gather your thoughts before delivering an answer. Also, keep your answers relevant and brief so that you don’t “ramble on.” And please, NO GUM!
Try A Mock Interview:
Why not? It can’t hurt! Practice with a loved one or good friend. Have them call you and simply say, “Tell me a little about yourself.” Then you can go into your talking points. Ask them for their feedback! It will position you to be more comfortable after a solid practice round. Ask them how your voice sounds. Do you sound confident? Do you talk to fast? Too slow? Stutter? A good practice round can do wonders for you in preparation for the real thing.
The phone interviewer can’t see you so be sure to project positive/energetic responses. It has always been our motto that people hire people they know, like and trust will do a good job. The best way to accomplish this over the phone is to think the word “energy” while you are speaking. Don’t be afraid to laugh if something strikes you as funny. Practice smiling while you are talking − smiling will help project that positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice. People hire people, so bring your likability factor. Without going over the top, don’t be afraid to express your genuine enthusiasm for the opportunity.
At the end of the day – it’s still matchmaking! Remember, they truly want you to succeed! It is their genuine hope that you are going to be exactly what they are looking for. I promise! Hopefully some of these tips will help you hang up the phone feeling that you did your absolute best!