How to Prepare for a Telephone Interview

By: Assignments Plus


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It is important to prepare thoroughly for your telephone interview.

Begin by studying the job description and the candidate profile. This will enable you to identify the company's particular needs and demonstrate that you possess the skills required to meet them.

Find out all you can about the company's products, services, history, and culture. Make a special effort to identify any areas where your skills and experience may be of particular value.

Familiarize yourself with the company's website and be prepared to comment constructively upon it if asked.

Prepare a list matching your accomplishments to the company's stated requirements. Keep this list in front of you during the interview and refer to it at every opportunity.

Specify and quantify your accomplishments, e.g. 'increased sales by 35%' or 'reduced overheads by 27%'.

Interviewers are keen to hear about relevant challenges or problems you faced in the workplace, the specific actions you took, and the measurable results you achieved. They seek to identify key competencies such as communication skills, analytical skills, teamwork, drive and initiative. Be prepared to give examples of how and when you have demonstrated these key competencies.

To get the feel of being interviewed over the phone, compile a list of probable questions and ask a friend use them in a simulated phone interview. Prepare your answers carefully, using key words and phrases from the job description and candidate profile. Do not attempt to write out your answers in full or they will sound wooden and scripted.

Select a quiet place where you will not be disturbed during the phone call. Keep your resume and cover letter, a copy of the job advertisement, and your notes in front of you. Jot down key points throughout the course of the interview.

It is a good idea to stand during a telephone interview as this makes you sound more confident and helps project a positive and professional image.

Matching your speaking rate and pitch to that of the interviewer will help you to establish rapport.

Professional radio broadcasters can vouch for the fact that smiling creates a friendly and enthusiastic impression. So make an effort to smile appropriately during the call.

Since it is important to convey the impression that you are genuinely interested in the company and eager to make a contribution, refer to salient information you discovered during the course of your research.

Listen attentively to the interviewer's questions and comments. Respond appropriately to verbal or tonal cues. If you don't understand a question, ask for clarification. Provide well-developed, balanced, and analytical answers. Avoid monosyllabic 'yes' and 'no' replies.

f asked to explain your reasons for leaving your previous job, make sure to have positive reasons prepared. Under no circumstances should you criticize your previous employers or colleagues. Having researched the company and analyzed the job description as suggested, you should find it easy to prepare a few thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer when afforded the opportunity.

At the end of the phone call, emphasize your interest in the job and the company and reiterate your qualifications. Stress that you would welcome the opportunity of a face-to-face interview.

After the interview, write a short thank-you letter.


From 'Four Minutes to Job Interview Success' published by Assignments Plus










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