By Gemma Morris
29th March 2012

The hiring process often moves at lightning speed, leaving hiring managers no time for casual phone calls. That makes the phone screen a serious first interview. If applicants don’t treat it as such, it could be “one and done.” Here are some tips on how to win a phone interview.

Take it seriously

When you pick up the phone, pretend you’re in a face-to-face interview. Think about your posture and how the way you sit could convey itself over the phone. Your professionalism will transmit through the phone.

Act naturally

Some people come across as unenthusiastic over the phone because they can’t use body language to show who they are. Just because you’re on the phone doesn’t mean you need to be still and quiet. If you’re an animated talker in person, use your hands while speaking. Stand up if you feel more comfortable, and don’t forget to smile.

Stay out of Starbucks

Make sure you’re in a quiet spot to conduct the phone interview. If you’re on your mobile phone, be sure to have good reception and a full battery. If you’re on a landline, don’t do the dishes or check email at the same time. Focus on the call and questions.

Get off your computer

Have a hard copy of your CV in front of you. You may also want written copies of your questions and the research you did on the company. Paper documents may be “old school,” but clicking your keyboard during the interview will send a “not interested” signal. You may be checking the company’s service offerings, but your interviewer could think you’re updating your Facebook status.

Listen carefully

Since you won’t have the advantage of reading the interviewer’s body language, your listening becomes paramount. Focus on the questions and make sure you understand them before you answer. You may also want to wait a beat after the interviewer speaks so you don’t interrupt.

Practice

Anticipate the questions you’ll be asked and rehearse your answers. If you’re usually chatty, practice curbing your responses. Typical phone interviews last 20 to 30 minutes. Use the time to impress the hiring manager with your skills, not talk about the weather.

Phone interview

Have you had many phone interviews? What would your top tips for success be? Share your thoughts below.

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