August 29, 2013

4 Ways to Prepare for a Phone Interview

businessman speaks by phone and does records in  notebookA phone interview is just as important as a face-to-face interview, so it is critical that you prepare for it with just as much dedication. There are many situations where the phone interview is the only interview, so don’t think that you are going to get a second chance if you “mess up.”

Below are some guidelines for preparing for a phone interview:

Location, Location, Location

This doesn’t just apply to real estate. When you are preparing for a phone interview it is important that you choose a quiet, distraction-free place. If possible, don’t go outside because you never know when a big gust of wind will come up and ruin your call.

Wear Something that Makes you Confident

Of course, the person interviewing you isn’t going to see you, but that doesn’t mean that what you wear doesn’t matter. What you wear is going to make a difference in how you feel, so wear something that makes you feel good about yourself, confident, and prepared. It doesn’t matter how you look to anybody but yourself, so if you know that you feel more secure when you are wearing makeup, put it on before the call.

Make Lists, Not Paragraphs

It can be very helpful to have notes in front of you during a phone interview, but remember that even though you are not face-to-face, you are still having a conversation. The person interviewing you does not expect to have to wait for a long time to get the answer, so instead of writing out long answers to the questions that you expect to be asked, create brief, to-the-point lists that will jog your memory so that you can answer fluidly and effectively as soon as the question is answered.

Don’t Talk Numbers

You don’t want to seem desperate for a position, and you also don’t want to tie yourself to an agreement too early in the process. One of the most important things to remember is that you should never discuss salary expectations during a phone interview if there is an expectation that this interview will be followed by a more in-depth exploration of the company and another interview. Try not to discuss it at all. If the interviewer brings it up, don’t be afraid to sway the conversation away from this topic. It is not disrespectful to simply say, “Well, I don’t think that we are at the point yet to discuss salary, but I’m sure that if we are a good fit for each other that salary won’t be a concern.” Should the person decide to push further, take a firmer stand and say, “I don’t feel comfortable discussing a specific number until I have had a chance to visit the company, meet coworkers, and get a clearer idea of the requirements of this position.” He or she will understand that you need to see the bigger picture before settling on a salary, and, if not, that individual is likely not the type of person with whom you would like to work.

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Marie is a writer for covering career advice, recruitment topics, and HR issues. She has an educational background in languages and literature as well as corporate experience in Human Resources.