Telephone interviews have become the norm in this day and age mainly for purposes of cutting down the number of interviewees who can then be interviewed face to face. Hot-shot job offers have a lot of competition, and employees figure that this is one way of cutting down the number of applicants to a figure they can handle. This is not a hard and fast rule; there are some jobs that will exclusively interview you over the phone and these prospective employers will ask to interview you at the time of your convenience. It can be scary to be interviewed on the phone, but anyone can nail it. Here are some of the tips you need to handle an interview on the phone successfully.
Since some prospective employees will ask to interview you at the time of your convenience, be sure to be formal and realistic. While your time may be in your convenience, it may not be in their convenience. Even if it is a phone interview, it matters to maintain the 9-5 rule, otherwise you will be sending a wrong message. Be prompt and make sure you are not inconvenienced by connection issues or noise in the background. Keep time (this is crucial, remember you are the one who set the time) do not let the interviewer use voice-mail, it may sound that you are not interested. Are you being interviewed through your cell phone? Make sure you have charged your battery. Still though, it is informal to be interviewed on your cell phone and it is best to look for alternatives.
Unlike what many people think, a phone interview is not a shortcut. You must get prepared with your CV and important information that the prospective employer might ask you. Be prepared with a pad and paper to write down important information. You will sound disorganized and unprepared if you have to run back and forth looking for a pen and paper. Since you are not eye to eye with the interviewer and you may not benefit from the non-verbal communication so you need to pay a lot of attention to what he says.
For any questions you are asked; keep the answer short and to the point (this is not carte blanche to give yes and no answers without elaborating). Any answer you give has to be relevant to the interviewer and the job you are being interviewed for. Many people take this chance to become informal with a formal interview and this is wrong. Do not take more than five minutes pausing when thinking of an answer and limit the mmmmhhhhs and ahhhhhhhs to a few here and there. Do not multitask when handling this interview. Do not sip your coffee or hold your infant. Do not smoke or do anything to give the interviewer the idea that you are not wholly present. This will pose a bad impression where the interviewer can get the idea that you have some more important things to handle than the interview which definitely will not get you the job.
Sometimes, the interviewer may ask questions that have nothing to do with the interview. Remember that these informal questions do not have a right or wrong answer, most of the time they are there to test your common sense and temperament, so never lose your cool and stay calm. Keep in control and answer to the question with words you think most appropriate. Your answer should make sense and a senseless answer is in no way acceptable just because it is a telephone interview. Prepare yourself for all the expected questions. This will help you not to get confused and stay confident while answering.
Some employers may find telephone interview enough for selection whereas a few may ask for a follow-up interview. In case the interviewer wants to make a follow-up face to face interview, agree to it and schedule it. This is a sign that you have successfully handled telephone interview. Now when you have a call for face to face interview, it's your time to impress employer by your non-verbal communication, body language and personality. Make sure you have prepared for that may-be final interview and have made every effort to get the job!
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