Wednesday, May 14, 2008

On The Phone

Ah, the phone interview. Sometimes the easiest part, sometimes the worst, of the interviewing process. I've had a number of phone interviews, and a fair group in the past three months, and I've collected a number of tips for this foot-in-the-door screening process.

1. Don't Answer With Just "Hello."

This particularly applies for those working out of the home office. It sounds much more professional to pick up with "Hello, this is Kate." Then you can dispense with the interviewer's "Hi, is Kate there?" nonsense. It's right down to business.

2. If Possible, Use a Land Line

If I've learned anything about cell phones in the past week, it's that I'd rather be heard over a land line. My land line is subject to less background noise, and prevents the person on the other end of the line from hearing any movement of the handset against my cheek. There's less static, too. Overall, it's a better quality call.

3. Sit Up Straight and Smile

While a phone interview doesn't require you to wear a suit and tie, the phone does convey a subtle sense of your body language, so you can't do it lying down in bed and fool anyone. Ask any yoga teacher or voice instructor and they'll tell you that your breath flows better when you're standing or sitting up straight. When you slump, your chest is compressed, and it does affect your breathing and your voice. Additionally, sitting up will give you more confidence and help you project better through your voice. As for smiling, the shape of your mouth affects your voice too. I can tell when someone is smiling over the phone, and chances are, your interviewer can too. Just as you wouldn't frown in an in-person interview, keep a happy face on the phone.

4. Take Notes On Paper

It's annoying to be on the phone and hear a keyboard clicking away. For all you know, they could be writing an email that says, "This candidate is a moron" to the boss. So jot down your thoughts the quiet way, with a pen on paper. I'm sure you've still got a notebook, even in this digital age. Also, it's handy to write down a list of questions to ask to keep you on track. Which brings me to:

5. Stay Focused

It's easy to just start going off on a tangent, because you have no one to maintain eye contact with. Set yourself an agenda before the phone rings so you know what you want out of the conversation.

6. Say Goodbye By Name

Saying, "Thank you so much for calling, Jane," makes a better impact than simply, "Thanks for calling." It reinforces your connection to the interviewer. Think about the difference when you go to Target and the cashier says "Thank you" and when you go to Macy's and the cashier says, "Thank you Ms. Hutchinson." It's subtle, but effective.

1 responses:

Rebecca said...

These are great tips, Kate! Hope things are working out :)

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