PROFESSIONAL INTERVIEW TIPS
In my previous article, Professional Interview Tips for face-to-face interviews, I gave several do’s and don’ts for a face-to-face interview. What if you have a telephone interview? What should you do to prepare? Well, keep reading for more information about professional interview tips for telephone interviews.
Having a telephone interview can make someone just as nervous as a face-to-face interview. There is still a certain amount of anxiety about it because you don’t know what to expect from the person on the other end of the phone. However, with some preparation, you could feel a whole lot better.
In a telephone interview, the interviewer is trying to determine if you should be brought in for a face-to-face interview.
How do you prepare for a telephone interview? Keep reading for some professional tips.
1. Do your homework
In my previous article, it was mentioned the first thing you should do when you know you have an interview is do your research on the company. Even in a telephone interview, it’s a good idea to do your research in case you are asked specific questions about the company.
2. Have your resume available
Having the resume in front of you for reference is a great idea. It’s not intended to be read from but to use as a reference in case someone asks you specifically about a past job, date, etc. Reading from your resume is not a good idea because it will make you sound as if you lack confidence. As you are talking with someone on the phone, you want to sound as natural as possible.
3. Make sure you are in a quiet space
You should make sure you are in a quiet place while on your call so that there aren’t any distractions. The most important thing is to make sure the recruiter can hear you clearly. Therefore, conducting a phone interview while you are driving or walking is not a good idea.
4. Smile as you talk
Believe it or not, if you smile as you talk, your smile will come through your voice. As your smile comes through, you will sound pleasant.
5. Have your elevator pitch prepared
You may be asked the question “tell me/us about yourself”. Having your elevator pitch prepared for that question will make it seamless as you answer. You will come across confident. To read more about elevator pitches, please visit my article Professional Interview Tips.
6. Have a copy of the job description on hand
If you can do so, have a copy of the job description available for reference as you are talking to the recruiter. It’s also a good idea to have it nearby so you can relay how your background relates to the job duties.
7. Have a list of questions prepared
Just as I mentioned in my previous article, have a list of questions prepared to ask the recruiter in case he/she asks if you have any questions. You always want to ask at least one good, job-related question.
It’s a great idea to practice your interview answers with someone. This will make you more confident before the actual interview.
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TELEPHONE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
No one really knows what questions will be asked during the telephone interview. However, doing a bit of research about possible questions can help you get more prepared.
Remember these tips when you’re answering questions in an interview:
1. Be short and to the point.
2. Make sure you listen to the question carefully and answer what is asked of you.
3. If you are not sure of a question, repeat it out loud so the person can hear it and verify in more detail, if necessary.
There are times during an interview, you may be asked a difficult question and not know how to answer it at first. What should you do? Don’t panic and ask if you can come back to it. Simply repeat the question calmly and slowly. By the time you get to the end of the sentence, you most likely will have thought of an answer.
Below are a list of questions to help you prepare for a telephone interview. Remember, this is only a sample set of what you could possibly be asked, but it’s a start:
1. Tell me about yourself.
This is the time to use your elevator pitch. To read more about elevator pitches, please read my article Professional Interview Tips.
2. Tell me about the roles you’ve had in this position.
The interviewer is trying to gain knowledge around your skills in the position in which you are applying. Therefore, be very specific about your roles in that position. If possible, obtain the job description beforehand and write down how your skills fit with the skill expectations of the job.
3. What enticed you most about this position?
Be concise about why you applied for the position. (Warning: Referring to how much the position pays should not be a part of your answer!)
4. Why are you looking to leave your current position (or why did you leave your past position)?
Whatever the reason you’re leaving (or left) your last job, stay positive in your answer. It’s never a good idea to speak negatively about your past company, employees or boss. Remember the saying “…accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative…” (Ann M. Martin).
5. What do you feel are your strengths?
Many students have a hard time answering this question because it feels boastful to speak positively about yourself. Like I have taught in class, it all depends on how you answer the question. It’s all in your demeanor and attitude. There is a difference between answering a question confidently and answering it like you’re bragging about yourself. Remain humble and factual. If you answer honestly, it won’t come across as you bragging about yourself.
6. What areas do you feel you need to further develop?
Ah, this one is always a difficult one to answer because you may seem that you are shooting yourself in the foot to talk about negative aspects of yourself. Remember this – we all have something negative about ourselves that we can develop. Therefore, do not answer by saying “I don’t have any areas that need developing.” YIKES! (I have actually heard that answer before in an interview). Think it through and whatever your answer is, turn it around and make it a positive by saying what you do to “fix” it. This will let people know that while you do have a negative aspect, you are also trying to rectify it.
7. What are your salary requirements?
Salary is one area you should only address if it is brought up by the interviewer. (Benefits are another.) It’s best if you could do some research to try and find out the requirements before the interview to give you a baseline. That way, if you say your salary requirements fall within that range, you know you’re safe.
8. What questions do you have for me/us?
Going back to what was said in Professional Interview Tips, it’s good to have at least one relative question.
TELEPHONE INTERVIEW MISTAKES
In preparing for your telephone interview, there are some pitfalls you want to avoid. For more information, watch the below video:
Remember the whole purpose of your telephone interview is to find out if you’re going to be asked to the next phase of the process – the face-to-face interview. However, there are key professional interview tips to keep in mind. Just like in the face-to-face interview, you want to convey you’ll make a positive contribution to the organization. By being prepared, you can come across as being professional and give a great first impression.
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