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Telephone Interview Tips

In some cases, the first ‘meeting’ between client and candidate is via the phone.  Since the phone discussion determines whether (or not) you will move on to the next step of the process, you should take the following into account:

  • Have a copy of your resume and/or notes available for quick reference
  • Ensure there are no children, pets, TV’s or other noises in the room that could cause background noise or distraction
  • Speak into the mouthpiece.  While this sounds logical, it can be forgotten if you are checking a file at the same time.  If taking notes electronically, inform the client or candidate that they may hear typing as you take notes during your conversation. Do NOT eat while talking or allow activity in the office to distract you
  • Smile.  Use a warm tone of voice.  A smile cannot be seen but it does change the interest and enthusiasm of the conversation.  Enthusiasm is contagious
  • Use a mirror while you talk to ensure you’re projecting the right image
  • Be positive.  Have the courage of your convictions.  Never say "possibly," "maybe," "I think that could be."  Instead, say "yes," "certainly," "always," "of course!”
  • Be concise.  Use short words and avoid waffling
  • Use jargon with discretion. Some individuals may respond well to your knowledge of industry terms, while others may find it puzzling
  • Be natural.  Be yourself, pleasant and businesslike.  Avoid adapting a telephone persona.  It is contrived and sounds that way at the other end
  • Use gestures to strengthen your delivery.  We are more assertive when we are standing up, so stand up when you feel nervous!
  • Increase your inflection.  It is usually necessary to increase your normal voice inflection – what you use in normal, face-to-face, conversations – by about 50%
  • Slow down.  Concentrate on pronouncing words crisply and clearly at a rate about 25% slower than normal.  Space out the words on the page to slow yourself down
  • Develop a vocabulary that creates a vivid picture for the individual on the other end of the phone.  Select adjectives that will help that individual ‘see’ what is being said
  • Listen.  Listening skills are as important as speaking skills.  You should talk 30% (asking good questions) and listen the remaining 70% of the time
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