More and more, twenty-somethings are applying to companies far away from their homelands. Money spent on airfare tends to be saved for basic necessities; phone interviews are becoming increasingly popular for companies to reach out to potential employees.
Now, it might seem like these might actually be easier because you don’t even have to shower or change out of your PJs to take the call, but it’s a mistake to assume this. Because the interviewer can’t see you, they can’t see how you present yourself, what kind of body language you’re using or even shake your hand — which unfortunately, can ultimately be to your detriment.
During an in-person interview, your potential employer forms their first impression of you in the first few seconds of you walking in the door. Over the phone, this is left simply to the sound of your voice and how you answer the phone.
Here’s how to make yourself sound professional and show your potential future employer how you’re the perfect fit for the job:
1. Prepare for the interview as if it’s in-person.
Do all your research about the company ahead of time. You should at least know the basic goals of the company, their mission statement and what your job will be. But even that is extremely basic knowledge. Print all of this out beforehand, highlight important parts and have it readily available to you while you’re on the phone. You don’t want to leave them awkwardly waiting for you while you frantically search for the right answer.
2. Wake up early.
You don’t want to be groggy while on the phone – nor do you want to miss the call because you were asleep. If you wake up earlier, you’ll have more time to become more energetic and ready to take on the world and you’ll give yourself time for a mini pep talk to get pumped for the interview.
3. Have your resume readily available.
They’ll ask you about your experience – it is an interview after all. It’s hard to remember your experience and the skills you learned at that book store job four years ago, so have it out in front of you. You can add this to your cheat sheet of information about the company.
4. Have pen and paper ready.
You’ll want to be jotting down information at the same time you’re giving it. They might give you certain instructions on follow up, dress code, or even when you’ll be starting or who you’ll be working with; needless to say, you’ll want to write this stuff down so you’ll actually remember it (don’t even try to kid yourself and say that you’ll remember it – this stuff is actually important).
You’ll also want to write down who interviewed you, their title and how you can reach them. I stress writing with pen and paper, too. You don’t want to be clacking away on your laptop while they’re talking.
5. On that note, don’t have your laptop or computer on at all.
And I mean at all. Do all your research ahead of time. The less noise interference there is (even if you have the world’s quietest keyboard, somehow things that shouldn’t be heard in certain situations tend to be amplified to deafening levels at the worst times), the better your chance of success.
6. Don’t do anything else with your mouth.
This includes eating, drinking (except the occasional sip of water), or anything else that requires your mouth except speaking into the mouth piece. Again, you want as little noise interference as possible and the last thing anyone wants right in their ear is the sound of lips smacking together or chewing.
7. Make sure your phone is fully charged.
If you’re on your cell phone (which you probably are – I think we’re fully passed the age of landlines, even at our parents’ houses), make sure it’s fully charged. And I don’t mean fully charged and then an hour or two of Tiny Tower. I mean the second your phone rings, you pull it off the charger.
The last thing you want is for your phone to die, especially since your cell is probably the only number they have for you.
8. Send a thank you note.
Like any interview, be sure to send a personalized thank you note to whoever interviewed you. This will boost their impression of you and show that you are interested in the position.
While these aren’t fool-proof or any sort of guarantee, they may be just the right things to get you from the “absolutely not” list to the “maybe” list. Happy interviewing and good luck!