from HealthSearch Group's Recruiting Team
(Written by Sherrie Dulworth)

You have a phone interview: Good News/Bad News.

The good news is that you are now one step closer to a potential new job. And since it’s only a phone call instead of a face-to-face meeting, you can be more casual and relaxed – maybe do the interview during your evening commute home or while relaxing on the patio…right?

STOP! REWIND! The bad news is that if you conduct your phone interview with any less gravitas than a face-to-face encounter, you may inadvertently throw away your shot for an in-person meeting and the possible job offer.

Phone-Interviews

If the adage that “the medium is the message” is correct, your message may be skewed based upon how strong--or weak--your phone interviewing skills happen to be. Here are some fundamental tips from HealthSearch Group’s Recruiting Team to help you prepare to put your best phone forward.

SET THE STAGE. You can’t entirely control your environment but try to schedule the call during a time and in a place where you can clearly communicate and fully focus. You want to avoid ambient background noises and dropped phone signals. In other words, don't schedule the call when you are driving, commuting, or are otherwise distracted.

As simple as it sounds, give the interview your full attention. According to Murphy’s Law, during the interview is the time that your dog will bark, your cat will puke, your kids will fight, and your doorbell will ring. It’s impossible to control everything, but put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign, lock the door, silence all electronic alerts, and try to limit outside distractions.

Even though it wasn’t a phone interview, the footage of the BBC reporter whose adorable kids crashed the room during his on-air reporting, is a classic example. The video shows how difficult it can be to ignore unexpected interruptions (and cute kids), even for the most seasoned reporter.

If you need to insert some ‘welly’ into your phone presence, some of our recruiters say to STAND UP during the call.

To help ensure the right mindset, consider donning business clothes for a phone interview, just as if you were doing an in-person session.

Phone calls can be challenging especially since you don’t have eye contact or body language to help you communicate or read the other person.

If you need to insert some ‘welly’ into your phone presence, some of our recruiters say to STAND UP during the call. But don’t let the energy cause your speech to become overly hurried. Some great ways to optimize your voice can be found through a guide published by Toastmasters International.

If you need a pre-call confidence boost, consider advance practice with what social psychology Amy Cuddy refers to as “power poses.” On the other hand, if you need to decrease nervousness, take some deep breaths to help relax.

Probably one of the simpler and more effective actions you can do during the call is to put a mirror where you can see yourself. This will help you remember to SMILE when you are speaking. Surprisingly, smiles have a way of showing up in your voice and in the way you present yourself, even over the phone.

REHEARSE. Your recruiter should be able to share how much time you should expect for the call. That will help you anticipate, plan and pace accordingly.

Make sure you have a copy of the job description and your resume in front of you with highlighted notes or talking points for yourself that are pertinent to the position during the call.

Be prepared to answer any questions that you would expect during any in-person meeting, including reasons for change, gaps in employment, your accomplishments, salary expectations, your interest in this job, and more.

Do advanced research about the company, their leaders, recent organizational news and accomplishments. Identify thoughtful questions that you want to ask about the company as well.

FINALE. It’s a good practice for ANY interview, phone or in person, to send a follow-up note of thanks to the interviewer for their time. They’ll appreciate, and remember you, for that.

Some people think of a phone interview as simply a perfunctory step before the "real thing," but aside from your resume, a phone interview is often the company’s first impression of you as a prospective employee. The truth is that it's a great chance for you to mutually get to know one another and for YOU to differentiate yourself.