7 Ways to Master Your Next Phone Interview
Phone interviews are nothing new. However, with the increase of remote and hybrid work opportunities in the last few years, initial interviews are occurring on the phone more often. Reviewing interview tips and STAR questions is beneficial, but how do you prepare to answer important questions on the phone? If a large portion of our communication comes from non-verbal cues, how can you ensure you are fully and properly understood? How can you give a strong handshake with just the power of your voice?
Our team at Contact 1 spends quite a bit of time on the phone, and we’ve learned some key tips and tricks on the matter. When it comes to phone interviews, here are our top seven tips to remember.
7 Tips to Use in Your Next Interview
1. Remember, they can’t see you. This may seem obvious, but it’s still a fact to keep at the forefront of your mind. Whether you are dressed in a suit or your favorite sweatshirt, the tone of your voice is how the person on the other end is going to perceive you. Dressing up can’t hurt, but if you don’t express yourself in a bright and clear manner, your interviewer will receive a less than professional impression.
When communicating verbally, it’s important to remember that roughly 75% of what you say is how you say it, not merely the words you use. Changes in vocal tones during a conversation are nonverbal cues that contribute to being well understood by your interviewer.
2. Be prepared. Take the time to research the company. What can you find about their mission or values? Do they have any recent press releases that give you relevant insight into their business? What do you admire about the company? What do you want to know more about? If you have all these details written out in front of you, you will proficiently demonstrate you know more than just the organization’s name, and you can impress the interviewer with well-timed questions and observations.
Being prepared also means cutting out all possible distractions. Make sure you are in a quiet room where you will not be interrupted. You can even have a stress ball close by if that helps you keep your mojo. Take full advantage of the behaviors that keep you calm and collected.
3. Focus on your voice, not your mouth. Sometimes a phone call can feel slightly like a performance. Occasionally people carry a bit of “stage fright,” accidentally stutter, or make little yips. When this happens, you may over-analyze your words or how you’re saying them. Instead of fixating on the minutiae of your mouth’s movements, try to focus instead on how your voice sounds in the receiver as you speak. It can help realign your concentration, allowing you to hone in on how you’re heard, instead of obsessing over your speech patterns.
4. Most callers are speaking to you for the first time. Having a greeting script is a great way to consistently answer the phone professionally each time. Identifying who you are is vital to the phone handshake. If you have multiple phone interviews, it may feel like you are a broken record repeating the same thing over and over. But remember, almost every caller is hearing your greeting for the first time – it isn’t getting old for them.
If you do have a script, find a way to keep it fresh each time you use it, especially if it is one you have practiced frequently. Speed is rarely helpful when it comes to the rate at which you are speaking. In fact…
5. Slow down just a little bit. You may want to give the interviewer all your information right away, especially if it’s a job you are excited about. However, this can make the answer take longer than necessary and impact your breathing and the pace of the conversation. Just take a deep breath, slow down your normal pace, and you’ll sound more confident and secure in your answers.
6. Make sure the telephone receiver is appropriately placed for your speaking style Do you speak louder on the phone? A little quieter? Make sure that your phone receiver is placed appropriately, not only to maximize your volume but also to prevent any unprofessional-sounding collateral noise. You may have a perfect delivery on the phone, but if your mic is placed incorrectly, it may be hard to hear over your breathing or popping fricatives (the puh, buh, fuh-type sounds that cause air to come out of the front of your mouth).
7. Send a thank you email afterwards. While this point isn’t specifically tailored to how you handle your conversation, it ensures you have put your best foot forward. As you are talking with the interviewer, take notes of comments you appreciated or things you learned about the company. Then, when the conversation is done, you will have some great points to include in your thank-you email that further demonstrate your gratitude and respect for the time and opportunity
As you prepare for your upcoming phone conversations, these tips and tricks are sure to give you the clarity and confidence you need to leave a positive impression. Just because you are not face-to-face with the interviewer doesn’t mean you can’t give a strong handshake.
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