When you’ve applied for many jobs that require a phone interview and not an in-person interview, you know things are tough and they’re going to get tougher. You may not have much choice in the kind of job interviews you can schedule but when opportunity knocks, you have to answer it or remain unemployed. The telephone interview is a challenging test of your communication skills and your confidence. You will feel awkward, nervous, and even stupid – but only for a few minutes. If you think that by staying silent or saying nothing will help you get the job, think again. Unless you are applying for the position of “mute librarian”, silence will hurt your chances rather than help them. There are two ways to prepare for a telephone interview: one is with the help of technology; the other is with the help of friends who also want to get telephonic interviews instead of in-person interviews.
Prepare with Technology #
Call a friend – If you want to practise your telephone interview skills, call a friend. He or she can either talk to you or, if you ask them, let you do most of the talking. – Record yourself – If you are shy and you are not comfortable to talk to a friend, use a tape recorder. Just remember to press the “record” button yourself. You can then play back your own voice and hear how you sound on the phone. You can also listen to yourself in “slow motion” to see how long you keep silent between questions and how long it takes you to respond to each question.
Practice answering questions – If you have applied for a job and the company wants you to submit a brief written sample, this is the best way to familiarise yourself with the questions they will ask and the issues they will touch upon.
Prepare with Friends #
Find an interviewer – Find a friend who is good at interviewing you and has the patience to ask you the same questions over and over again. He or she can do all the talking and you can simply listen. This way, you will know how it feels to be asked the same question over and over again.
Have a mock interview – Organise a mock interview session among your friends. Let each of them ask you a few questions and then give you feedback. If you can, record the session and then analyse your own performance to learn from your mistakes.
Get feedback from your mock interview – The interviewer should ask you about your strengths, weaknesses, and skills. These may include communication skills, computer skills, interpersonal skills, decision-making skills, and problem-solving skills. The interviewer should then ask you questions that will help him or her find out how you rate yourself against these skills. You should also ask the interviewer what you should do to improve your score on these skills.
Confidence Boosters #
Brush up on your interview skills – If you are preparing for an in-person job interview, you have to brush up on your interview skills. This will help you feel more confident and ready for a telephone interview.
Know what the interviewer wants – You have to know what the interviewer wants to hear and what the company wants to know about you. You have to do your homework and read the company’s mission statement, objectives, and goals. You also have to read the job advertisement and know what skills and qualities the company expects from its employees.
Practice self-talk – This can help you handle nervousness and boost your confidence. Tell yourself that you have what it takes to succeed and that the interviewer is not your enemy.
Practice Talking With a Mirror #
Breathe out and breathe in – Before you start the interview, take some deep breaths and exhale while you count to five. This will help you relax.
Smile – This is the easiest way to relax and appear confident. Smiling will also make you talk more clearly.
Look at yourself in the mirror and say these things – “I am confident. I am relaxed. I am ready for the interview. I love to work. I am good at what I do.” – Say “and” – Instead of saying “I am”, say “and”. This will make you sound more confident and relaxed.
Talk to Yourself While Shaving or Driving #
Talking to yourself while shaving is easy because you do not have to worry about an interviewer asking you questions. Talking to yourself while you are driving is trickier because you have to do it while you are also driving.
Pick a topic and go on talking – You can talk about the problem that has been troubling you, or you can discuss the issues that you have discussed with the interviewer.
Switch topics periodically – If you keep talking about one thing, you will bore yourself.
One Last Thing #
Finally, before you pick up the telephone and start talking to an interviewer, remember that telephone interviews are not the same as in-person interviews. You have to adjust your communication style to suit the medium. You have to speak up; you have to speak clearly; and you have to talk a little faster than you normally do. Keep in mind that the telephone interview will not make or break your chances of getting a job. It’s just another part of the hiring process and if you do everything you can to prepare for it and be successful, it will go a long way towards landing you that job.