The following excerpt is reprinted, with permission of the publisher, from The Essential Phone Interview Handbook © 2011 Paul J. Bailo.
Published by Career Press, Pompton Plains, NJ. 800-227-3371. All rights reserved.
World-Class Phone Interview in Action
You deserve a better opportunity and all you need to do is get past the phone interview. The following techniques will assist you in being a champion phone interviewer. Make it happen!
It’s In Your Control
The interviewer may be asking the questions, but ultimately, you control your phone interview. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. You get to decide how and what you want to happen during your phone interview.
In order to maintain control, you must be strong-minded, ruthless, and unwavering. Your responses to questions – how you sound and what you say – is in your control. Imagine what you want the end results of your phone interview to be – what you want the interviewer to take away from this exchange – then focus your control to achieve these goals.
It is all about control, staying in control before, during, and after your phone interview.
Has anyone ever told you the famous saying, “God gave us two ears and one mouth so we could listen more and talk less?” This is wise advice that should definitely be applied to your phone interview.
Listen, listen, listen. Don’t just hear, but listen. There is a significant difference between the two. To listen is not only to be physically present, but to give your full attention to the speaker. Your entire mind, body, and soul should be focused on the information being presented. Do not just hear the words, but use deep, intellectual thinking to process what the speaker is saying. Listening means there are no distractions. Do not try to jump to a point or anticipate the next words. Just be present. Listen to how the interviewer is speaking, listen for understanding, listen to the meaning, listen for the unspoken words. This active concentration is what you need to do during your phone interview.
How do you demonstrate you are listening when you are on the phone? The interviewer cannot see your head nodding or focused gaze; therefore, offer a subtle “I understand” or “yes, good point” to show you are listening intently.
The real proof of your listening is in your response to the interviewer’s questions. The more in-depth and analytical the answer, the greater the demonstration is that you are listening and, most importantly, understanding what the interviewer is saying. Understanding is the key to true listening. And this mutual understanding creates a strong connection between yourself and the interviewer.
Do not assume that you must talk more on your phone interview to make the best impression. Everybody loves to talk, but only a few people like to listen. Don’t worry – you will have your opportunity to talk. Be sure to also take full advantage of your opportunity to listen.
During your phone interview, it is important that you listen closely and do not interrupt. Speaking before your interviewer has finished his or her statement is rude and unprofessional. This implies that you are not listening. Interrupting also suggests you do not value the interviewer’s thoughts and believe your ideas are more important.
This is not the attitude you want to portray on your phone interview. Your phone interview needs to be a conversation in which both sides bring valuable thoughts to the table. You must listen and respond accordingly. Do not try to dominate the conversation by interrupting.
Show respect for your interviewer by acknowledging her thoughts by silently listening. Remember, she already has a job in this company, at this particular time, so she has the upper hand. Her knowledge is already accredited by the corporation. Be respectful by pausing after her comments and then speaking your own intelligent response.
By not interrupting, you prove yourself capable to work well with a team of individuals. This also demonstrates an open-minded attitude that is essential for professional conversations. Not only are you showing respect for your interviewer’s ideas, you are also displaying confidence in your own thoughts by inserting them at appropriate times during your phone interview.
There Is No Need to Rush
Do not speak too quickly or frantically during your phone interview. Talking like this will not result in a comfortable conversation and will certainly not impress your interviewer.
Speak clearly and calmly. This resonates that you are a professional, skilled individual who is well-versed in business interactions. You do not want to fill up the air space with rambling words. Instead, present your interviewer with clear, thought-out information that displays your professional presentation skills.
The idea here is quality, not quantity. It does not matter how many words you can fit into the time allotted for your phone interview. What matters is how much content you can get across to your interviewer. Pace your speech evenly, in a well-orchestrated manner, to achieve a top-notch interview.
If you listen to radio or television news broadcasters, you will notice that they speak slowly and very precisely. They do not talk to fill the air with words, but rather use decisive words to clearly explain what they are speaking about.
These professionals know how to enunciate their words slowly and calmly so they can be understood. You want to conduct your phone interview in the same manner. If you rush, the interviewer will feel you are in a hurry. Maybe you have something you consider more important to do, or maybe you are nervous and unprofessional. None of these are desirable traits to portray during your phone interview.
Be in control, don’t rush, and speak deliberately and confidently. Show your phone interviewer the professional, valuable job candidate that you are.