In today’s job search, a telephone interview is a step in the process that isn’t up for discussion anymore. Today, a telephone interview is usually something a candidate must take part in before an in-person interview is offered. This may seem like a tough sell, given that the objective is to display your potential value to an organization within the course of one short telephone conversation. After all, when you’re on the phone with someone, you’re not able to use the nonverbal cues that express your self-confidence or show the emphasis you might be placing on a certain thought or idea you have.
Logistics and budget issues usually determine that a phone interview must take place before an in-person interview. An employer benefits from a phone interview in other ways as well. If a candidate piques their interest, the employer has a chance to observe how that candidate can perform under the unique pressure of not being able to see them while speaking to them.
It’s a well-accepted belief that more than half of one’s communication is transmitted through body language. Eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, body movement, and posture tell more about a person than do vocal tones, pitch, and words themselves. Body language helps to establish a true connection with someone, and connecting with someone is critical to a successful job interview!
SO, WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT?
A few thoughts. . . .
**IN THE DAYS BEFORE THE INTERVIEW?
1. Practice standing up with some authority and power
You’d be surprised how much this can help. People have often laughed at me when I’ve told them what I used to do before (and during) a phone interview. Instead of sitting down in comfy clothing and relaxing, I got decked out in the full interview game day attire. Suit and tie and freshly shaved. I also stood in front of a mirror. While I assure you that I was well aware of who I was talking to, I was also able to make eye-contact and see full facial expressions, as well as stand in a fully confident and professional way. What makes this idea even more helpful is practicing it!! Experiment with a few powerful stands/poses/positions in advance. By doing this, you’ve got more than one powerful way to stand and you won’t feel so awkward while you’re on the phone.
While you’re practicing your authoritative poses, you might also practice a few breathing techniques, which will come in handy on the day of the interview. The phrase, “take a deep breath” couldn’t be truer. However, there’s more to it than that. Go ahead and take that deep breath, but then hold it for 3-5 seconds, exhale for 3-5 seconds, pause for 3-5 seconds, and then start over. If you follow this cadence for a few minutes, it really will calm you down and you’ll be able to think much more clearly.
2. Use the phone more often in the days before the interview!
Practice may not make perfect, but there’s always room for improvement. You can prepare for your phone interview by making more phone calls in the days leading up to it. We don’t use the phone nearly as often as we used to, so try answering emails with phone calls, or engage friends and family on the phone with a conversation about a current topic of interest. Enhance it more by speaking on the phone to a Facebook friend who you don’t know as well and try doing it while you’re looking in a mirror. All of this can better prepare you for interviewing with someone you probably don’t know at all.
Of course it goes without saying that a mock interview over the phone is even more helpful!
**BOTH BEFORE THE INTERVIEW AND ON THE DAY OF THE INTERVIEW?