Acing a Telephone Interview

In my blog postings over the last  two weeks, I’ve been sharing ideas and tips on how to best apply, interview and secure a competitive job offer.  My most recent inspiration is coming from daily phone calls from my college age daughter, Barbara, who is pursuing PR internships in New York City for this upcoming summer.

Barbara doesn’t allow any “grass to grow” under her feet.  She is beautifully organized; goal oriented and very persistent.  Thank goodness I’m an experienced career professional but even I have a hard time keeping up with her especially trying to help edit cover letters at 11:00pm!  But you can’t argue with success when she’s getting positive responses back within just days.

So here we go . . . now I’m helping her prep for a telephone interview scheduled for tomorrow morning.  My “go-to” reference on preparing for all kinds of interviews is Job Search Magic, Susan Whitcomb, 2006.  It’s simply the best resource on how to psychologically, physically and mentally prepare for a telephone or personal interview.

Here’s my favorite list taken in part from Whitcomb’s “Dozen Must-Do’s in Telephone Interviews”.  I’ll be passing them on to Barbara when she calls me late, late tonight.  These are great tips for all of us to remember.

  • Set up a very quiet place without interruptions (no dogs barking!)
  • Convey warmth, friendliness and professionalism in your opening.
  • Ensure you have a good phone connection (use a head set if possible).
  • Listen closely – try closing your eyes to really concentrate.
  • Use SMART stories to give concise answers.
  • Be aware of your voice especially if it is too soft.
  • Shorten up your responses – don’t go on & on.
  • Expect the unexpected (a role play, case example etc.).
  • Take notes but don’t let writing things down distract you.
  • Always ask for the job if you really want it!

The best part for me is being able to coach Barbara in my area of expertise to be the very best she can be.  My business tag line has always been “Powerful Partnerships for Powerful Results”!


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