Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How to Ace a Phone Interview

Can you hear me smiling?

When researching how to prepare for my telephone interview, the number one tip I read was “be sure to smile”. Apparently, the interviewer will be able to hear if you are smiling or not during the conversation.

I wasn’t too surprised because the same theory applies in our radio class, but it was strange to read tips from Human Resource managers describing how they can hear on the telephone if someone is smiling.

I also read that one should stand during a telephone interview as it makes the interviewee more alert and focused. I guess that our natural relaxation gene kicks in the moment we sit down.

Another common suggestion is to have a list of key accomplishments printed and close by the phone. The list will act as a reminder if you blank during a question. If that happens, just look at your list and find an example rather than filling the empty air with “um, oh let me see, I'm sure there was a time I did that ...”.

Some other tips include:
  • Have a pen and paper handy and when the interviewer calls, write down their name so that you can repeat it during the interview.
  • Be sure to thank the interviewer by name at the end of the phone call.
  • Jot down notes during the phone call of any important information that you may want to remember afterwards. You don’t have the opportunity of that casual walk back to the reception counter where you can ask to be reminded of the position start date.
  • Have a printed copy of your application letter and resume handy. The interviewer may be looking at it and refer to it during the interview and you may want to as well.
  • Prepare some answers to common questions just like you would for a face-to-face interview. Why do you want this position? What qualifications do you have that relate to this position? Can you provide an example of when you have done this type of work task before? Have you ever had a conflict with a co-worker or customer and how did you resolve it?
  • Make sure that you are in a quiet space for the interview. Clear everyone else out of the house or at least out of the room you will be using.
  • Listen very carefully to the questions and be sure to answer the question you were asked – don’t wander too far off course in your answer.
  • Don’t rush your answers, it is alright to take a moment or two to prepare your response to a question.
  • Speak slowly and clearly, have a glass of water handy for a quick sip if your throat gets dry.
  • As with any interview, phone or face-to-face, be sure to have a question or two ready to ask the interviewer. When do you expect to be making your decision? Would you like to contact my references? How would you describe your organization’s culture? What do you like best / enjoy the most about working for the [name] company?
  • As mentioned above, stand up and smile, smile, smile!

My telephone interview to be one of Disney’s college interns this summer took place Monday afternoon and it went very smoothly thanks to those tips I found online.

The interview lasted about 10-15 minutes and I was asked 6 questions. The questions were pretty standard. Why Disney? Would these dates fit into your schedule? How would you deal with working long shifts and in Florida’s heat? What position do you see yourself doing if you are chosen to be one of our interns? How do you feel about living with a roommate? What can you offer Disney?

In about two weeks they will let me know if I have made it to the face-to-face round of interviews. Woo!
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  1. Great advice! I hope you get it! Good luck!

  2. Wow, I hope you get the job! Thanks for the phone interview advice.
    I worked at a music store and the owner would ALWAYS tell us to smile before we pick up the phone because it affects the tone of your voice, I suppose!