Posted on 21 July 2008

4 Telephone Interview Tips

A friend called on Saturday, frantic, because they have a telephone interview Monday morning. They had never had a telephone interview before, and her nerves were getting to her.

The key is to control what you can control, knowing that you are as ready as possible. Here are some other tips to help you out:

  1. Attend to your surroundings.
    Taking a tip from Penelope Trunk, make sure your surroundings are right. Be ready, place and time. This is a crucial first step that many people overlook. Life is busy, but being ready speaks a lot:

    “Don’t take the interview when you are at your desk and can’t talk freely. Don’t take the call when there is too much noise in the background. And don’t walk from one place to another because the breathlessness that comes from walking and talking at the same time subconsciously conveys lack of authority to someone who doesn’t know you.”

  2. Keep Notes at the Ready
    This is an excellent benefit to phone interviews… you can keep NOTES!

    Maureen Crawford Hentz over at QuintCareers says it like this. You should “consider keeping some notecards or an outline in front of you to remind yourself of key points you want to cover with the interviewer. You don’t want your responses to sound scripted, but you don’t want to fumble for important points either. Do also have your resume in front of you so you can remember highlights of your experience and accomplishments.”

  3. Get Some Practice

    Alison Doyle at About says, “Talking on the phone isn’t as easy as it seems. I’ve always found it’s helpful to practice. Have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview and tape record it so you can see how you sound over the phone. Any cassette recorder will work. You’ll be able to hear your “ums” and “uhs” and “okays” and you can practice reducing them from your conversational speech. Also rehearse answers to those typical questions you’ll be asked. “

  4. Know your skeletons
    Nobody’s perfect, but everyone has reasons things happen. Be ready to answere questions about things like “job hopping, being fired. Avoid weak excuses. NEVER CRITICIZE YOUR FORMER EMPLOYERS.Role-play and rehearse your responses to difficult or uncomfortable issues that may come up in the conversation.” [Source:]

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