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4 Tips to Help You Nail Your Next Phone Interview

Landing a job these days is no easy task. No matter how stellar your qualifications are, it’s the interview that can make or break you. It’s becoming more common for employers to conduct intensive Q & A sessions over the phone. Telephone interviews need to be approached differently than face-to-face meetings, so it’s in your best interest to know how to handle them.

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1. Do Your Homework

Going into a job interview without knowing anything about the company is one way to get your application thrown into the reject pile. There’s a good chance that the interviewer will ask why you want to join their company and drawing a blank won’t earn you any brownie points. What’s great about a phone interview is that you can use an outline to guide you through the conversation.

It might be helpful to jot down background information, recent news of administrative changes and new ventures and the names of key players within the company. You don’t have to spend hours doing research, but it’s critical that you know something beyond what’s available on the company’s website.

2. Be Energetic But Don’t Overdo It

4 Tips to Help You Nail Your Next Phone Interview

During in-person interviews, hiring managers can gauge your interest based on your physical cues and facial expressions. That’s not possible over the phone, so the interviewer has to rely on your tone to determine how you feel about the job. You want to be enthusiastic, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

An interview involves more than just answering a bunch of questions in quick succession – it requires you to listen and respond in a thoughtful way. Cutting off the interviewer before they’re done with a question or rambling when a simple answer will do suggests that you’re nervous or you like the sound of your own voice. Either way, you’re hurting your chances of getting hired.

Related Article: 6 Things to Never Say in a Job Interview

3. Be Ready to Turn the Tables

At some point, the interviewer’s going to open the floor and allow you to ask a few questions. This is an opportunity that you don’t want to waste. Asking questions shows that you’ve been listening and that you’re genuinely interested in learning more about the company.

The questions you ask should prompt the interviewer to expand on topics they’ve already touched on. For example, you might ask for a more detailed profile of the type of client they cater to or their expectations regarding the role you want.

If all else fails, you can always ask about the kinds of challenges you can expect if you’re hired. It’s best to steer clear of topics like benefits and a salary that’ll cover your student loan payments since those are more appropriate to bring up when a job offer has been formally extended.

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4. Mind Your Manners

4 Tips to Help You Nail Your Next Phone Interview

Good phone etiquette is a must during an interview, so you want to make sure you’re opening and closing the call with the proper greetings. It’s a good idea to eliminate background distractions and avoid interrupting the interviewer when he or she is talking.

It’s also important to be polite and keep the conversation professional. Even if the interview doesn’t lead to an offer, the hiring manager is more likely to keep you in mind for future openings if you make the effort to leave a good impression.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Rasmus Rasmussen, ©iStock.com/lzf, ©iStock.com/arenacreative

Rebecca Lake Rebecca Lake is a retirement, investing and estate planning expert who has been writing about personal finance for a decade. Her expertise in the finance niche also extends to home buying, credit cards, banking and small business. She's worked directly with several major financial and insurance brands, including Citibank, Discover and AIG and her writing has appeared online at U.S. News and World Report, CreditCards.com and Investopedia. Rebecca is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and she also attended Charleston Southern University as a graduate student. Originally from central Virginia, she now lives on the North Carolina coast along with her two children.
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