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Four Tips that Can Help You Ace your Phone Interview

October 14th, 2019

Phone interviews and initial phone screenings are not new; they’ve long been used by employers to narrow down a large pool of candidates without the hassled and expense of bringing everyone into the office for an in-person session. Phone interviews usually give both parties a chance to establish a few basic parameters and deal-breakers before either party decides to invest further, a process that cut a large pile of resume in half within hours instead of days.

But there is one aspect of the phone interview process that’s on the rise in the modern workforce: Remote hiring, which may mean that the phone is your only mode of communication, not just your first. In 2019, your employers may hire you based on this medium alone, without ever seeing or talking to you in person.

So here’s how to use the phone (and only the phone!) to show off your readiness for the role.

Check your connections and distractions.

Before the call takes place, check and double-check to make sure your barking dog is locked in another room, your noisy children are in someone else’s care, your phone is fully charged, your signal is strong, and you have everything you need within reach. A quiet room and a strong connection can help you get your message across. If you’re currently employed while taking the call, arrange an hour at home or a coffee shop; try not to scuttle into a stairwell or whisper into the phone from your cubicle while you’re at work.

Do as much research as you can.

It’s always a good idea to research the company and the job before an interview, but this is especially important when the interview happens by phone. Why? Because over the phone, you have limited ways to show off. It’s harder to steer the conversation in your direction when you can’t use visual cues, and you can’t wow your interviewer with your million-dollar smile. So use what you have! A few signs of effort can go a long way.

Speak more slowly and clearly than you normally do.

You may think it’s best to adopt a natural and relaxed demeanor and be yourself. But over the phone, the stakes are higher if you deliver a garbled sentence or tell an incomplete story. If your witty remarks fall flat because your interviewers didn’t understand you, the fallout can be unfortunate. Slow down. Enunciate. And use fewer words to make your point than you would in person.

Reveal yourself through your voice.

Smile when you greet your caller; the person can hear your smile. Before you answer any question, pause for two full seconds. Convey your energy and interest through your voice. Again, you have limited ways to do this, so make the most of all of them!

For more on how to crush your interview, contact the staffing team at Merritt!

How to Prepare for Phone Screening vs Face-to-Face Interviews

January 12th, 2012

If most of us had to choose between a face-to-face interview and a phone screening, we’d probably consider the in-person interview a little more nerve-wracking. After all, real world interviews involve countless tiny details that can easily escape our control, from a loose thread on our hem to the beads of visible sweat we’d do anything to send into a parallel dimension. Phone conversations, by comparison, edit out every part of our persona that can’t be expressed through the voice. But does this actually make things easier? Or does it simply mean that all of our qualifications, our years of experience, our warmth, our manners, and our confidence all have to be conveyed somehow through a set of tiny speakers?

Yes and yes. Phone interviews are easier. But candidates still need to take the phone call seriously and get around, rather than hide behind, its limitations. Here’s how.

First, prepare. Expect the same tough questions you’d hear in a face-to-face interview. You probably won’t hear these questions, since most phone interviews are simple, general screenings designed to weed out obviously inappropriate candidates. But just in case, be ready. Know how to talk about your background, discuss your future goals, and address your potential weaknesses with confidence and grace. And feel free to write things down. The phone makes it easier for you to take notes and refer to them gracefully.

Second, remember that facial expressions won’t play a role. So your voice will need to tell the interviewer that you’re listening and engaged. Don’t sit down during the call. Stand up, and try not to pace. Smile as you greet the interviewer. A smile can be felt over the phone.

Finally, don’t be afraid of conversational pauses. Your listener can’t see your face, but you can’t see hers either, and this may exaggerate pauses and make them feel longer and more awkward than they actually are. Don’t be rattled. Take a breath and wait for a full second before you answer a question, just as you would in person. Your interviewer is in no hurry, and she’s interested in what you have to say.

For both phone and in-person interviews, try not to fidget, and as always, think before you speak. For additional interview tips and guidance with your job search, contact a staffing agency in Fairfield County at Merritt Staffing and talk to our employment experts.

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