Acing the Phone Interview

The phone screening (because, like your resume, it really is more of a screening) is the stepping stone for getting your foot in the door for a face-to-face interview.  Landing a phone screening means your resume passed the first test and the interviewer was impressed by you, at least on paper.  Here are a few reasons why companies screen over the phone before extending an invitation to meet with hiring managers in person:

1. The interviewer wants to ensure you sound like the person who wrote the resume.  If you can’t communicate your own resume to someone over the phone, you’ve lost your credibility.

2. The interviewer wants to ensure you have a basic grasp of general discourse, that is, that you can carry a conversation with someone for more than five minutes and do so gracefully.  Verbal communication is a skill that is on the decline with the advent of social media sites and texting.

3. As an administrator, you are often the first point of contact within the company.  The interviewer is ensuring you sound like the type of person they want answering the phones.

Here are a few ways you can ace the phone interview and make your way through the double doors.

Stand up and walk around while you are on the line with the interviewer and make sure you smile as you speak.  Vocalizing your emotions is a learned skill which can prove to be more difficult than it sounds, no pun intended.  If the caller can tell you are pleased, comfortable and enthusiastic without being able to read your body language, you are on the right track.

Have a copy of your resume and the job description in front of you while you’re being screened.  Phone interviews are fantastic because they’re like open book exams.  You took time out to craft your resume and guarantee all of your experience and skills were listed on it.  Use this as a guide to help you through selling yourself.  Interviews are nerve racking, so having your resume in front of you (something you can’t do in an in-person interview) can help calm some of that nervous energy.  Use the job description as a reference point and take specific duties from their list to give examples of how you did that in your last job and why you would be able to do it in this one.

Get dressed.  You’ve heard the phrase “you are what you eat”.  The title of our blog is Power Pieces because we believe that if you are equipped with the right tools to be successful and feel confident in your success, you will ultimately be successful.  If you do a phone interview in your pajamas, you may subconsciously feel lethargic and that will come across to the interviewer.  Put on a button down shirt, a pair of slack or even your favorite shoes, anything you will feel powerful, smart and confident in, and let your inner prodigy shine through. 

Practice with a friend.  Ask them to interrupt you each time you add filler words like “um,” “like,” “uh,” “you know?” or put a quarter in a jar each time you do so.  Practicing a skill (because you did write “strong communication skills” on your resume, didn’t you?) is the only way you’ll ever master that skill.

And as always, we welcome the opportunity to assist you.

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