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Career Planning

How to Handle a Telephone Interview

Remember, what you say during your telephone interview directly affects whether or not you get to move forward in the interview process.

Kizzy Preston

October 28, 2014

How to Handle a Telephone Interview
When applying to jobs, some companies will select you to do a telephone interview, prior to doing a face-to-face interview. Telephone interviews save employers time because it allows them to screen applicants before bringing them into the office. During the telephone interview, the open position is explained in more detail, and questions are asked about past work experience and salary requirements may be discussed.

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Here are some things you can do if you have received a request for a telephone interview.
Be available:
If you receive an email or a telephone call from a recruiter asking to schedule a telephone interview, it is imperative that you agree on a time when you know you will be available. If the recruiter says they will call you on Tuesday, at 11am, then you need to be by your phone and ready to speak. You should set aside at least 30 minutes of time where you will be uninterrupted. Your environment needs to be free of background noise and distractions.

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Reschedule ahead of time:
If for some reason you find that you will not be able to speak with the recruiter in a quiet area at the scheduled time, you should let the recruiter know this as soon as possible. Do not wait until the recruiter is calling at the scheduled time to tell them that you can’t talk. This is seen as rude and may mess up your chances of moving forward in the interview process.

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Answer the phone:
Do not ignore the recruiter’s call. If you have a telephone interview scheduled for an agreed upon time and date, then you need to answer the phone. Saying that you forgot, or something else came up, will surely ruin your chances of landing the job.
Be prepared:
Before your telephone interview, you should prepare for it. Have your resume in front of you so that you can discuss your past work experience. Jot down some answers to potential questions on a sheet of paper. Also, write some questions about the position or the company that you can ask the recruiter at the end of the call. Have some references ready, in case they are asked for. You should have each of your reference’s name, job title, telephone number and email address printed out in front of you.
Be professional:
Though it may seem less formal than a face-to-face interview because you cannot see the person interviewing you, a telephone interview is just as important. Be sure to use a professional tone when speaking to the interviewer. You will be judged on your telephone communication skills. Ask thoughtful questions, and give examples that highlight how your past work experience translates to the job you are interviewing for. Don’t forget to use proper telephone etiquette for the entirety of the call, using ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when appropriate. Remember, what you say during your telephone interview directly affects whether or not you get to move forward in the interview process. It is important to impress the interviewer with your promptness, preparedness, and professionalism. Using the above tips will help you to not only make a good first impression, but also move forward in your interview process.

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