In the long job search process, a common first step for applicants is a phone interview with the company in which they are applying to. Companies use this interview to save time, cut out unwanted applicants, and most importantly get to know the applicants right for the job. Two big misconceptions appliers have are:
Underestimating a phone interview
Phone interviews hindering their best self
Never, ever underestimate a phone interview. This interview is a first impression of yourself and why you want this job. Treat it with the same stature as a face to face. This interview could be the next step to landing the job but vice versa, do not stress about the interview. 7%-38%-55% Rule researched and published by Dr. Albert Mehrabian states that 55% of communication is transmitted through body language, 38% through tone of voice, and 7% through actual words spoken. Apply this rule to the interview.
Here are some top tips to nail the phone interview:
1. Prepare before!
Always come prepared! Having notes on the job description, research of the company, even notes on yourself and what you can bring to the company will be so helpful if your mind comes to a blank, mid-conversation. Also keep handy a copy of your cover letter and resume.
Have web access. just in case you quickly have to research; however all other technology keep at a minimum. Might be best to switch on that “do not disturb” button.
Use a landline for the phone call. Cell phone service can be cut off easily/unable to hear well.
Make the call from home: try to find a quiet space with no disturbance. This means get away from roommates, family, and pets.
Practice makes perfect: give yourself time to learn. Ask friends and family to hold a mock interview on the phone. It will put your nerves at ease.
Side tip! Keep a glass of water next to you in case a cough comes about!
2. You had me at “Hello”
Your greeting with the interviewer (or interviewers) is the first step in how the conversation will go. It is a common belief the first 15 seconds make or break the interview. Start confident and positive. Here is a great example:
“Hello, this is [your name].”
“Hi [you], this is [interviewer] calling from [company].”
“Hi [interviewer]. It’s nice to meet you. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today.”
Keep your tone neutral and positive. Smile too! It will keep the energy throughout the conversation. Lastly, start mentally preparing yourself for the hard-hitting questions.
3. It’s okay to breathe!
It’s question time. You’re tensing up. Mind is going blank. It’s a “flight or fight” response that’s common for everyone. Your mind is going a million miles a minute cause you want to impress the company. Breathe. Keeping your breathing at a reasonable pace will bring down the anxiety that has risen. Here are some breathing techniques that will work instantly.
Equal Breathing: balance can do a body good, beginning with the breath. To start, inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four, all through the nose.
(For the before interview jitters): Abdominal Breathing Technique: with one hand on the chest and the other on the belly, take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring the diaphragm (not the chest) inflates with enough air to create a stretch in the lungs.
4. Excel in conversation
Here it is: the big interview between you and the company. Verbal cues are extremely important here. Make it as balanced as possible, you and the interviewer should have equal talk time. Keep pauses at a minimum (this is why having notes in front of you is important!). To make it more comfortable, find common ground with whom you’re speaking to. And most importantly, be yourself!
Side tip! Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
5. The aftermath
So you’ve just ended that awesome interview, what’s next? It might take a awhile to hear back from the company, so be patient. Send a quick email to the company thanking them for their time and opportunity to apply for the job. If you land the job, congrats to you! However if you don’t, don’t be too hard on yourself, there will be plenty of opportunities for you in the near future.