It's common for companies to ask for a preliminary phone interview to short-list their best candidates. Unfortunately, this process can sink some really good job seekers.
How can you make a great first impression over the phone? Consider these three simple tips:
- Your environment matters. Don't try to interview for a job while in public, driving a car or sitting in any outdoor area. Sirens, wind, background chatter and traffic are very distracting for you and the person interviewing you. If they can't hear you, they will lose interest. Giving your interview in a cubicle at your current job where you have to whisper to avoid being heard sends the wrong message. If you don't make the time to find a private place, the interviewer may think that you aren't really serious about the job. People are busy, but they make time for important matters. Lastly, landlines are always preferable. If you must use a cell phone, be sure you have good reception and that you've turned off all audible alerts.
- Be enthusiastic. Optimism can be heard. A strong, positive tone makes a good impression. Instead of answering with a monotone "Hello" try an upbeat "Hello! This is John." Use facial expressions, smile and gestures as you speak. Voice inflection and body language are directly linked, whether we realize it or not. Lastly, include practice in your job interview prep. It sounds silly, but practice your conversational quality. Use the voice recorder on your phone to record yourself answering basic questions. Play them back and critique your tone.
- Don't make assumptions. It's human nature to visualize what we think someone looks like, but refrain from make assumptions about gender, age or nationality based on the voice of the interviewer. For example, addressing your interviewer as Mister when she's actually female is insulting. A little online research ahead of time will help avoid making awkward assumptions. Companies often post profile pictures and bios of their leadership team. It's likely you can find social media profiles, news articles or other online sources about the company and your interviewer. Do your research. Having an accurate picture in your mind will help you visualize your audience, giving you a more relaxed tone.
In any interview, phone or in-person, preparation is key. Also, feel free to take advantage of the resources offered by Akraya.