The Do’s & Don’ts of Telephone Interviewing

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The Do’s & Don’ts of Telephone Interviewing

legal support jobsMore and more companies are turning to telephone interviews to screen candidates, reduce costs and narrow the pool of applicants who’ll be invited for face-to-face interviews. Seize the opportunity to impress the interviewer so that he or she can’t help but want to meet you in person.

Do ensure that you have a quiet space reserved for your interview away from any noise or distractions. There is nothing worse than trying to have a serious conversation when there is a lot of background noise. Don’t wait until the last minute to find a location in which you feel comfortable. If you don’t plan ahead, you may find yourself in an awkward situation and cause the interviewer to question your judgment.

Don’t schedule an interview when you have other responsibilities. Make sure you can give the interviewer your complete and undivided attention. Also be sure to tell your friends and family that you’re on an important call. Even if you are in your home office with the door closed, if nobody knows you’re on a call, expect to be interrupted.

Do answer the phone in a very professional manner as apposed to receiving a call from a family member or friend. Take the initiative to go above and beyond and answer the phone by introducing yourself. Not only does this show that you are expecting the phone call, it also conveys professionalism.

Don’t play off of memory. Be ready for the interview. Take advantage of the fact that the interviewer can’t see you and keep a few notes handy to help you remember to say all of your key points. Use bullet points, not complete paragraphs. Keep a copy of your resume in front of you so you can refer to it as necessary.

Do prepare as you would for an in-person meeting. Just because the meeting is over the phone doesn’t mean the employer isn’t serious about your candidacy. Research the company’s roots and background. It’s important for the employer to identify your initiative to become acquainted with the company’s mission, culture, and goals. Be prepared to explain exactly why you are a good fit for the job.

Do listen carefully and take notes as long as it doesn’t distract you. Just as it’s OK to refer to your prepared notes during your interview, you can take advantage of the phone interview setup to write down things during the interview so you’ll remember them later. It can be helpful to jot down a few things so you can write detailed thank you notes. Don’t feel compelled to transcribe every word, but some well-placed notes may help you later.

Other things to keep in mind? Make sure you sound enthusiastic, the sort of person they want on the team. Pace yourself, a good interviewer knows you may need a little time to compose a good response, so do take time to think about answers. Listen carefully and if you don’t fully understand the question, ask for clarification. Don’t allow yourself to become flustered, especially if some of the questions seem either irrelevant or overly specific. And remember, the interviewer may need some time to make notes between questions so don’t worry about short silences; be patient.


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