How to Cream the Dreaded Telephone Interview

We all know there is a certain way to conduct ourselves when we are called in for an interview. We dress well, make sure we are properly groomed and conduct ourselves with a certain air of formality. Everything about our body language at an interview says (or at least tries to say), “I am a polished, well-spoken individual.”

But what about phone interviews?

The interviewer is not in the same room with you and cannot see how well you are dressed or how impeccable your body language is. So how do you rope him or her in?

Know Your Stuff

The first and most obvious thing to do is to make sure you know your stuff. You have to prepare yourself for a phone interview better than you would prepare for a face-to-face interview. Do some studying on what questions are generally asked in your field. Anticipate any additional information that the interviewer might ask of you, and be one hundred and ten percent prepared with the ways of the industry.

Even if you have impressive credentials on your resume stating that you have attended a top notch school the interviewer is still going to test you to make sure you are right for the job.

Nothing creates a better impression on an interviewer than your knowledge on the subject relevant to the job applied for.

Use Your Voice as an Instrument

Besides amazing the juice out of your interviewer with your iron-clad knowledge about the industry, there is one other thing that you can use as an instrument—your voice.

In a phone interview, the only thing that is representing you is your voice. And when I say your voice, I mean everything about it. A smart interviewer can gauge all he needs to know about your personality through your voice. The way you speak, the diction you choose to use, your tone, the pace at which you speak, all contribute to the impression that is created of you.

So why not use all these underlying variables to your advantage?

Your Diction

Remember, you are in an interview. The diction you use should be far different than the one that you use when you are speaking to a friend or a family member. Avoid the use of casual words and phrases, speak in complete sentences and boycott slang altogether. Even if the approach of the interviewer seems casual, do not break your stance. Remember, you have an impression to maintain.

Your Tone

It goes without saying that you need to adopt a formal tone when speaking to an interviewer. Tone and diction go hand in hand. While diction refers to the actual words you choose to use and the clarity with which you speak, your tone is the way you utter those words. Maintain a formal-yet-polite tone throughout the interview. Try not to go overboard with the politeness – pandering will get you nowhere.

Your Pace

Remember this is a phone conversation. The pace at which you speak is of the utmost importance. Too slow will bore the interviewer to death, and too fast will have him struggling to catch up with you. Maintain a reasonable pace. Speak clearly but not too slowly. Aim at not having to repeat yourself.

Other Tricks and Tips

  • Relocate to a quiet place where you will not be disturbed when you get the call.
  • Don’t eat, drink or smoke during the interview.
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
  • Address the interviewer as Mr. or Mrs. or Miss unless you are asked to use the first name.
  • Always thank the interviewer before hanging up the phone.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Since these are the finer details that we don’t usually think about while speaking, it is obvious that you won’t be able to incorporate them into your speech overnight. So what should you do? Practice, practice, practice!

Practice your interview with your friends and family to polish your speech. You can always count on them to give you an honest feedback. And once you reach a point where you feel a hundred percent confident, you will know that you are finally ready to answer that interview call!



By Ray Holder
Ray Holder