business woman with a computer laptop and mobile phone

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.

Have Ready

  • 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