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Getting Past the Phone Interview

Prepare just as you would for a face-to-face meeting.

Last week I wrote about the screen interview. This week, the God awful phone interview; unlike the traditional face to face interview, this exercise leaves us with NO opportunity to read the persons “non verbal communication." Did I answer that question well? Did she like the answer? How can I tell?

Let’s start with preparation for the phone interview. Men have more difficulty with this than the ladies. Dress for the interview.  If you take the call in your pajamas with your big floppy slippers, you will sound as if you are taking the interview in your pajamas with your floppy slippers on.

Men, get up shave, put your suit on.  (It need not go to the cleaners after the interview)  Put any pets or family members that could be distracting in another area of the house. Put your wife’s make up mirror on your desk. Remember the customer service training.They can hear your smile! 

Ladies same advice; get dressed for the interview, make up mirror on the desk and make sure that the area is free from all family members and pets. Take the call on a phone that you know will work where you are speaking. 

If you need to stand up, it’s ok! You breathe better when standing; ask your community church choir group to confirm this. Treat the interview as if you were in the room with the interviewer. Answer the questions remembering to state the situation, speak about any obstacles, explain the action that you took and bring home the results. Stay on track and always keep the answers on point. 

Listen carefully; this is how you might compensate for the lack of nonverbal communication. If the interviewer says, “I agree” or “yes, right,” you have done well. No response my indicated that the person did not like your answer. If that is happening, it’s ok to ask the interviewer, "How do you feel about this issue?" Or "What do you think about that situation?” These hints may help in providing comfort in the interview. Remember, the interview, no matter the type, is a two way street.

Next week the in person interview. What time should you arrive and should you bring your own water?

Brian Coughlin has lived in Norton most of his life and graduated from Norton High School. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in management from the University of Massachusetts and a Master of Science degree in management from Lesley University. He is a human resource consultant and has been operating his own business for six years. Check out his company page at www.coughlinHRconsulting.com.

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