Telephone Interview

We have all had a telephone interview. They are a very important part of the initial screening process for filling a position. If you do not get past the initial screen, well…you will not get the job.

Let me give you five simple steps to follow for a successful telephone interview.

Step 1 – Research The Interviewer

It is critical that you know something about the person you will be interviewing with.

Look them up on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

If you are interviewing with a recruiter or HR person, send a connection request immediately after getting the interview notice.

What are they posting? Where have they worked? Do you have any hobbies in common? This is where Facebook helps!

You want to be able to personally connect with the interviewer.

Step 2 – Prepare Probing Questions

I want you to think like a consultant during the telephone interview. You should probe for pain points. In an initial telephone interview, this might include the following:

  • Is this a newly created position?
  • What are the responsibilities of the position?
  • Are these responsibilities new to the department, organization, or company?
  • What are the new business requirements that are causing you to fill this position?

You are looking for reasons that the position is open. Once you understand the reasons, you can properly position yourself as the best candidate.

Step 3 – Prepare Yourself Mentally

You want to feel confident and poised in the interview.

One hour before the interview, get some moderate exercise. This might be going for a fast walk or climbing stairs for 15-20 minutes. If you are nervous at all, this will help take the edge off.

It is not important if you are sweaty during the interview. They cannot smell you over the phone!

The next step is based on the premise that your body shapes who you are.

Amy Cuddy was a TED Talk presenter, and in her video Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are, she explains that, when you take on powerful and winning body shapes, it will increase testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain.

You will feel more confident.

For this activity, you will probably need to go into a bathroom stall. Stick your hands up like Usain Bolt when he won the 100 meter dash at the Olympics. Keep them up for two minutes and soak in that winning feeling. If you still don’t believe me, read her paper, Power Posing.

Yes, I know this sounds crazy, but it does work!

Step 4 – Setup Your Interview Space

Prepare to take the telephone interview in a quiet space where you will be standing up.

Use a headset on either a land line or your cell phone. If you are using a cell phone, make sure you have a very good signal. If you have to go outside, be sure to find a spot away from wind.

It is critical that you be standing up and have the use of your hands to gesture.

If you are a pacer when you talk, make sure your shoes do not squeak. You may even want to take them off.

Step 5 – Be Positive And Tell Stories During The Telephone Interview

One key way to stay positive during a telephone interview is to smile!

Yes, I know that the person on the other telephone cannot see you, but if you are smiling, it is really tough to be other than positive.

When you are asked a question, try to answer by saying, “Let me tell about the time that…” Do not simply tell the interviewer you can do the job. Instead, answer the question by telling a story of when you demonstrated the skill required for this new position.

If you follow these five simple steps you will improve your chances of moving forward in the interview process.