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In today’s global market, all jobs start with a phone call. A phone interview makes it easier for companies to sift through mountains of resumes before inviting top candidates to meet in person. Most often, a “gatekeeper” conducts a phone interview; this may be an administrative assistant, or other employee who has been asked to screen candidates for a job opening. Getting past the “gatekeeper” and gaining a meeting in person is the goal of a phone interview.

There are several benefits to phone interviews, they eliminate the cost of travel and time to meet in person, and you don’t even have to get out of your pajamas. However, experts recommend treating a phone interview like an in-person presentation.

In a phone interview, your voice, your words, and the content of your answers is all you have to offer. The number one mistake on phone interviews is sounding tired, bored, or disengaged.

Lackluster answers or low energy could be read as lack of interest. Distractions or background noise could signal disorganization or irresponsibility. Follow these simple tips to break through the phone interview gatekeeper with excellence.

1Research

Before any interview, it pays to research the company. Understand what they do, how they do it, and any recent changes to the company itself. Particularly for phone interviews, look up the person who will be interviewing you. Google or LinkedIn is a great way to find a profile picture, sometimes knowing what they look like makes it easier to talk to them on the phone.

2. Prepare

The day before the call, confirm the date, time, and let them know you will be ready. Begin preparing for your phone interview approximately 20-30 minutes before the scheduled call. Clean the area, so you’re not distracted with clutter or dirty dishes. Find a quiet corner without children, pets, or traffic noise. Be sure your phone is charged and has a good signal. Have your resume, relevant talking points, and any questions you may have prepared ahead of time. To avoid the sound of rustling papers, tape them to the wall for quick and easy reference. If you are the type of person who is easily distracted, grab a stress ball or something to keep your hands busy so you can focus on the conversation.

3. Stand Up

If you are laying in bed during your interview, you might start yawning or come across sounding tired. If you sit at your desk, you might be distracted with emails or Facebook. Stand up during the interview as if you are giving a speech. Standing allows you to be more dynamic, engaged, and naturally confident.

4. Smile

Although the employer cannot see your beaming face, it will come through in your voice. So remember to smile, laugh, and be friendly.

5. Be Concise

Remember that phone interviews are shorter than in-person interviews, so you have a limited amount of time to make a good impression. Get to the point and avoid long-winded answers or ambiguities.

6. The Closing

The last words leave a lasting impression. Be sure to end your call by asking if they have any other questions or reservations about you that you can clear up on the call. Confirming the next steps in the process and always, always, always express sincere gratitude for the time and effort of the interviewer.

Looking for more guidance in your job search? Speak with one of our staffing experts today, and we’ll work with you to find a new job and meet career goals. We look forward to hearing from you!

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