If the hiring manager calls unexpectedly without pre-arranging a call, try to reschedule so you can be prepared. Say that you have a conflict and suggest a time you or they can call back. When you call back, be prepared for the call just as you would for a full-dress interview.
Arrange to be in a place where you can speak openly / freely, with a minimum of background noise. Avoid a cell phone, if at all possible.
- pen and paper, a calculator
- the job ad / description and your resume so you know what the interviewer is looking at
- a list of your accomplishments which relate to the job you are discussing.
- research you have done on the company.
- a short list of questions about the job.
- your calendar.
The Techniques of a Pro
- Smile – it comes through in your voice.
- Speak directly into the phone.
- Don’t smoke, chew gum, eat or drink anything. It all telegraphs to your listener.
- Stand up. Your voice sounds stronger.
- Avoid ah, er, hum. This habit is especially noticeable on the telephone. This takes practice. So practice.
- NEVER ever pick up another call if you have call waiting, or put the interviewer ‘on hold’ for any reason.
For a Winning Performance
- Confirm the caller’s name and company. Get the caller’s telephone number.
- Be aware that the caller can’t see you – can’t see your hand gestures, can’t see you taking notes.
- Pace the call. Let the caller do most of the talking, without interruptions.
- Do use the technique of repeating or re-phrasing questions. It tells the caller that you listened carefully, and gives you time to think about your answer.
- Avoid the simple yes or no; add selling points at every opportunity.
- If you need time to think, say so – as in radio, silence during a telephone conversation is dead air time.
- Compensation issues come at the end of the interviewing cycle, never at the telephone stage. You can truthfully say you don’t know enough about the job to state a salary figure. And, of course, you would need a personal interview to really talk with the company. Which is another way to go for the personal interview. Re-affirm your qualifications, express your interest in the job and the company.
- At the end of the conversation, ask about a date for a face-2-face interview at the employers location. Be as flexible as possible with regards to setting a date / time.
BEWARE negative comments about current employer – it is almost certain to HURT YOU. Be prepared to explain why you left your previous jobs WITHOUT criticism of that company or it’s management. OBVIOUSLY – don’t get casual because you’re on the telephone – NO SLANG or CURSING