Telephone interviews are different than live interviews and require different strategies for the jobseeker to be successful. When I ask new coaching clients to assess their interview technique, they never distinguish between phone and live interviews. Many clients don’t even realize that brief phone interactions are mini-interviews. Even when a longer phone call is scheduled in advance, some of my clients refer to it as a “screen,” as if this is something different or even less than an interview.
Make no mistake: telephone interactions are real interviews. Many times you can’t get invited for a live interview without passing muster by phone first. Here are some telephone-specific interview tips:
Stand up. You lose a lot of expressiveness on the telephone so it’s harder to come across as enthusiastic and energetic. But an interview is exactly the time when you want to demonstrate enthusiasm. Therefore you need to work that much harder to get energy into your voice. Standing up helps keep you at attention.
Suit up. Without the corporate office and direct interviewer contact, you may forget you are in a business situation and start slouching in your chair and getting too colloquial and casual with your speaking. Wear a suit to keep yourself professional.
Stock up. Prepare your resume, interview questions, pen and paper, glass of water, and anything you think you might need for the interview. You do not want the interviewer to hear the refrigerator door opening or the clinking of glasses to detract from what you are saying.
Follow-up. Just as with any interview, send a prompt thank you. Since you won’t be able to trade business cards like in a live interview, make sure you save any correspondence leading up to the phone interview so you have at least the person’s name and email. If an assistant set up the interview, call the assistant to get the interviewer’s name, title, mailing address and email. Don’t forget to thank the assistant as well!