When it comes to applying and interviewing for a new job, the times certainly are a-changin’. Most, if not all, of your job applications will be done online. And that’s where the process starts for human resources departments.

The first step in their hiring process is to develop to a pool of candidates by reviewing their online applications and resumes. Once their pool is established, they will seek to weed out candidates through telephone interviews.

This is where you come in. A telephone interview is a crucial step in reaching your goal of getting a face- to-face interview and acquiring that new position. So, even though a telephone interview can be short and is only a first step in the process, there are plenty of things you can do to enhance your chances. Here are our top 10 tips for making your telephone interview a ringing success.

Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.



10 Tips for a Successful Telephone Interview


1. Be Prepared. Just as you would in a face- to-face interview, prepare yourself for a phone interview. Anticipate questions, practice answers, memorize your qualifications, and be ready to explain why you would be a great match for this position/company.


2. Create a Proper Setting. Whether you’re at home or at work, set up a quiet, professional setting for your telephone interview. This will help you concentrate and be more relaxed. If you work in a cubicle and need more privacy, predetermine a place at work (conference room, unused office, even your car) where you can take a break for your telephone interview.


3. Answering Machine Message. If you are working from home, and this is where you expect to receive your calls from a potential employer, then by all means make the atmosphere professional. This begins with your answering machine. Don’t use songs, jokes, or lengthy diatribes for your answering machine message. Use a professional, concise message and tone of voice. First impressions are important!


4. Resume at Arm’s Length. At home, keep your resume right next to the phone. At work, keep it in a drawer close to the phone or someplace easily accessible. Having your resume nearby will give you the chance to quickly glance at your experience and qualifications, and keep you and the interviewer on the same page.


5. Keep a Jobs List. If you have applied for dozens of jobs, and it is easy to do just that in this age of online applications and downloading resumes, create a list of companies and the jobs for which you have applied handy by your phone. The last thing you want is to be scrambling to remember the details of the job when you already have an interviewer on the line.


6. Practice With a Friend. The old adage “Practice Makes Perfect” really does work here. Ask a professional or personal friend to conduct a telephone interview with you. Provide them with a list a questions you think you might be asked, and then see how you respond. Ask your friend to be honest; their evaluation can be very helpful when your phone rings for a real telephone interview.


7. Take the Call. If it is at all possible, do the telephone interview when your interviewer calls. If you have followed these first six steps, you will be prepared for your telephone interview. Spontaneity is important, and your interviewer will appreciate it if you can talk right away. If the time is truly inconvenient for you, explain why and set up a time to call back as soon as possible.


8. Be Yourself. When you are on your telephone interview, try to relax, be professional, and be yourself. Show enthusiasm for the job, and speak slowly and clearly in short, concise replies that directly answer the questions.


9. Ask Questions. At the end of your interview, it is likely your interviewer will ask you if you have any questions. Be prepared to ask some questions about the company and the job. Do not ask about salary, benefits, or hours. You’ll have plenty of time to discuss these areas later in the interview process.


10. Write a Thank-You Note. Immediately! Make sure you have your interviewer’s proper name and title. Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to spell his or her name. There is no substitute for accuracy. And briefly reiterate your interest in the job, and your desire to continue this process with a face-to-face interview.


Randi’s Recommended Reads

Perfect Phrases for the Perfect Interview: Hundreds of Ready-to-Use Phrases That Succinctly Demonstrate Your Skills, Your Experience and Your Value in Any Interview Situation (Perfect Phrases) (Paperback)
by Carole Martin

Interview Fitness Training: A Workout With Carole Martin, the Interview Coach (Paperback)
by Carole Martin


Calls to Action

1. What steps have you taken to organize a list of jobs for which you have applied?

2. What preparation have you done to be ready for a telephone call from HR?

3. What can you do to create an environment for success?

  • a. Have you set up a quiet place where you can take these calls?


About Aspire!

Aspirations! is written and compiled by Randi Bussin, a career counselor and entrepreneurial consultant with 25 years of experience of corporate, nonprofit, and entrepreneurial expertise. She leverages her extensive background to help mid-career professionals and entrepreneurs clarify their aspirations, develop the “big-picture,” and set realistic goals in designing a career that reflects their personal values and passions. Through focused coaching, she helps clients make steady progress and achieve their career goals.

If you would information on our services, please feel free to e-mail us at rbussin@verizon.net.


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E-mail: rbussin@verizon.net

Phone: 617-489-7738