The phone rings. You know it’s someone from that job you applied to. The pressure is on. This call is the deciding factor whether you will get that initial in-person interview. First off, do not panic – you got this!
1) Pick a place for the call. Go to a space where you won’t be disturbed by children, pets or other people. You don’t want hiring managers to hear talking, the TV or music in the background during a call. One of our Corporate Recruiter says that “If you are free of distractions, it will make the call more casual and conversational, which are keys to a positive phone interview.” Even if you have to go to your car to be alone, do it. Also, make sure you are using a phone that won’t drop the call. If you are using a landline, turn off call waiting! In addition, not every recruiter or hiring manager has their own office. It may be harder for the recruiter to hear you because of all the other conversations going on around them. You need to speak clearly and be completely focused.
2) Be prepared. This means having your notes, your resume, the job description, a pen and a glass of water at hand – at least five minutes before the call. Jot down your own notes BEFORE the call – things you want to emphasize, questions you want to ask and notes/answers to questions you think you might be asked.
3) Do your homework. Educate yourself about the position and the employer. “Make sure you research the company and the job, so you are familiar with the business/industry. “This will show that you have a vested interest in working with them.”
4) Practice your phone etiquette. Do you say “um” a lot or sound like you lack confidence? Better to have a friend pick up on these things and point them out so you can work on correcting any issues prior to the call.
5) Stand up, smile and look your best. That’s right – I said to dress up. “Why? They can’t even see me!” Well, the mere act of putting on your professional best can get you in a better mindset. The potential employer does not have visual clues to judge you by over the phone. You want to sound as good as you look. By standing, you’re automatically in a better posture position. As for the smiling – it’s an old customer service trick that really does make a difference. For years, I worked for a company that had a call center. During their training, I overheard the advice about this again and again, and it really does hold true. If you’re frowning and talking, you’re grouchy. Is grouchy the vibe you want to give off? Of course not.
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