Mastering the phone interview: Eight tips to make yourself shine

Posted on Mar 2 2014 - 1:40pm by Guest Writer

By Zach Wittstruck, Guest Writer

In our multi-attentive culture, phone interviews are becoming more and more common as the means of dialogue between those in power and potential prospects. Below are a handful of tips that can help you flourish in your own phone interview.

1. Research
Knowing the ins and outs of a company and how it conducts itself is the first vital step to acing the phone interview. A good place to start in the research process is the website.

More specifically, explore the ‘About Us’ or the ‘Company History’ section in order to get a feel for what its goals and foundational values are. Take notes on what you find and begin to apply it to your working style. Studying this information and incorporating it into the answers you provide will give you a more personal appeal and make you a natural selection for the company position.

2. Key words
Placing keywords into your responses can have a great effect on the appeal of your responses. Since you’ve done your research, you now know some goals, slogans and other identifiable information that can provide a good idea about what keywords and phrases will make your answers pop.

For example, if you were to do a  phone interview with the Disney College Program, you could use keywords like dream, joy, magic and adventure in order to shape your answers toward the company identity. Having these written down and in front of you while answering questions can help tremendously.

3. Know the interviewer
If possible, knowing your interviewer can provide an even more personal feel. Getting some background information about the person you’re speaking with will allow you to further prepare your answers to appeal directly to them. However, if this is not possible, just remember that whoever your interviewer is, he or she is there to hire you. The interviewer wants you to do well and is pulling for you to be the one who shines.

4. Presence and Tonality
It will pay off if you put the same amount of effort into your phone interview as you would if it were in person. Being focused on the dialogue will allow a connection to be made with the interviewer that would rival that of in-person conversation.

Since all that the interviewer has to go on is the sound of your voice, mastering how to use it will further convince them of how capable you are. With the proper command, you can demonstrate many characteristics such as tone, diction and clarity, which will give them a good measure of your personality and potential as an employee.

5. Practice, practice, practice
Like training in a sport or studying for a test, rehearsing for an interview will build muscle memory and give you a leg up on the competition. A good way to practice is to have someone ask you questions commonly used in interviews and figuring out the best possible answer to them.

Repeating those answers and getting used to the questions will help greatly when they occur in the actual interview. Practice will help in mastering your voice, will assist in settling nerves and will provide a highly confident feeling going into the interview.

6. Be your best cheerleader
The fear of public speaking is among the top fears held by people throughout the world. If you are among those who hold this fear, knowing yourself and having confidence in your abilities can play a crucial role in overcoming it.

Since your interviewer can’t see you, a fun way to fight your nerves is having support notes in front of you. These can be from yourself or those close to you and are great tools to have.

7. Ask questions
The ends of interviews almost always give you the chance to ask questions and this is something to take advantage of. Even if you don’t truly have any questions, expressing curiosity in the job and its details show that you are committed on a higher level.

8. The thank you note
After the interview, an easy way to keep yourself in the minds of your interviewer is to email or mail a thank you note. Demonstrating your appreciation for that person’s time and consideration shows great character and will serve to remind him or her of your qualifications for the position.

In using these eight tips, phone interviews will be an easier obstacle to overcome. For further assistance with phone interviews, the Career Connections Center located in Ramstad Hall is a great resource for information.