Landed that Phone Interview? Here's What to Do Before, During, and After
All that hard work you did in preparing your executive resume and identifying companies to approach has paid off. You've got a phone interview scheduled with a company you'd like to work for and potentially the job of your dreams. Here are some tips to make sure you don't blow it now.
BEFORE THE INTERVIEW, thoroughly prepare:
- Analyze the job and its requirements thoroughly.
- List the key requirements they specify in the job description and make sure you have the matching skills, experience, and aptitudes.
- Craft what you will say to demonstrate to the interviewer you have the key requirements.
- Research the company thoroughly, and mine your network for possible inside contacts who could potentially put in a word for you and give you a competitive edge.
- Rehearse your answers to common interview questions. This may seem silly while you are doing it, but it can pay big dividends.
- Assemble documents to have at hand during the phone interview. These would include the lists you compiled above, your current resume, references to provide the interviewer with, questions you want to be sure to ask.
- Specify that the interviewer call on your land line number, so you won't have to fear dropped calls, disconnection, or a poor connection.
- If you have call waiting, turn it off. Beeping from incoming calls is distracting to you and annoying to the interviewer.
- Position a glass of water close by to keep your voice smooth and rescue you if you happen to start coughing or your voice gets scratchy or rough.
- Place a notebook and working pen by the phone so you can jot down quick notes.
DURING THE INTERVIEW
You might think that this advice that is commonly given for in-person interviews would not apply to a phone interview. However, the following three actions can have a major positive effect on your performance:
1) It might seem unnecessary to dress for the interview (after all, the interviewer can't see if you are in your sweats or PJ's, can he?). However, you'd be surprised at the confidence being well groomed and dressed in at least business casual clothing will provide.
2) A well-known and very effective technique used in phone conversations by salespersons, telemarketers, etc. is to SMILE. Smile as you answer the phone, and continue to smile in appropriate places as the conversation continues. The smile brings a welcoming and rich tone to your voice that helps to establish rapport.
3) For the same reason, pay attention to your body language and posture. Although the person on the other end of the line can't see it, they can sense it and it will carry through in your voice.
AFTER THE INTERVIEW
Send an email thank-you immediately, and follow that with a snail-mailed handwritten note. If your handwriting looks like hen scratching, you can type the note.