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There is a Ringing In My Ears

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, ETP Professional Member since 2007

There are times I hate phones. Especially cell phones. They play tunes when I am concentrating on something serious, emit seemingly sonorous tunes when I am in a serious meeting, interrupt my train of thought (even when I am not thinking of anything in particular), and display messages I am not even interested in receiving. But today phones play an important role in the job seeking process.  

As companies pay ever increasing notice to their bottom line, and hence to their expenses, job interviews via phone are becoming more popular. They usually are easier to arrange than a face-to-face, take less time, and cost less.

Regardless of your job qualifications, how you come across to the phone interviewer could determine whether an offer is received. There are several skills in which a wise candidate should become
adept. Here are a few.

  1. Be mentally prepared. You are not chatting as you would on a social call. This interview is as important as a personal meeting and may even set the stage for one.
  2. If possible, use “land lines”. They tend to give the clearest sound and consistent signal. Imperfections in cell tower technology can result in dropped calls or loss of signal strength.
  3. Practice. Ask yourself questions you think the interviewer might pose and see if you can answer them in a clear, positive manner without too may “hmms” and “uhs”.  Also, remember that talking in a monotone can put the interviewer to sleep and turn him or her off to your message. Become confident enough so that you feel that if you called yourself you would want to listen to what you had to say.
  4. Stand up. Even though the interviewer can’t see you, standing up helps you come across strongly.
  5. Speak clearly. If you tend to speak fast slow down. Fast conversation is more difficult to understand over the phone.
  6. Focus. It is easy to be distracted by noise which makes it harder to hear or someone calling to you from another room or other interruptions.
  7. Stay on point. Important in any interview, staying inside the conversation is more challenging on the phone because we have no body language feedback to indicate whether our responses are on target. If you feel you are on an unwelcome tangent bring the conversation back to your value proposition. It was created by you and you have control when you discuss it.
  8. Be confident and relaxed. You probably will be nervous but remember that you made enough of an impression prior to the call to have the interviewer call you. While success can not be guaranteed, learning these skills will help ensure that you make the best possible impression.

About the Author
Jerry Clifford is a Project and Program Manager experienced with all aspects of software project development. As both employee and consultant he worked with some of the nation’s premier companies including AT&T, Cisco Systems, and Merck. He holds a graduate degree in mathematics, earned certifications in project management and information systems auditing (CISA) and was elected to two terms as President of the EDP Auditors Association, New Jersey Chapter. He is the published author of several technical and nontechnical books on topics ranging from computer math to car repair and carpentry.

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