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Five Things to NEVER do During a Phone Interview

A phone interviews should be prepared for as thoroughly as an in-person interview. Sarah Needleman of the Wall Street Journal writes that employers are expecting more from phone interviews, and some job hunters are finding that they can last for an hour or more. Some employers are asking that candidates provide extensive work history details with dates, and to respond to behavioral type interview questions. Alison Green of US News provides advice for a successful phone interview and below we suggest five mistakes to avoid.

  • Being unprepared. Anticipate similar questions to those that you would expect in a face-to-face interview. Prepare a cheat sheet to refer to and ensure your job history and dates reflect the information on your resume. Prepare responses to questions that ask for examples of your past work behavior, and think carefully about your salary needs because the interviewer may well address compensation.
  • Not knowing who is to interview you and why. Ensure you have the correct name. An HR representative will most likely be confirming resume details and your suitability for the position in terms of skills and availability. An HR manager will ask more in-depth questions and may try to gauge your cultural fit and your communication skills.
  • Accepting a call in a noisy location. Where you take the call should be a quiet spot with no interruptions or distractions. Taking a call at work is not a good idea. Ensure a reliable phone connection; a land line is often the best. If using a mobile phone, make sure the battery is fully charged.
  • Multitasking. Turn off your computer, your other phone, and any other devices that may distract you. Give your full attention to the interviewer, the questions, and providing the best responses.
  • Poor style or tone of voice. Face-to-face interviews use other communication tools such as personal appearance, mannerisms, posture, and visual signals. Phone interviews use only tone of voice and phrasing. Most important is to sound interested, energetic, and confident. Do not interrupt the interviewer, and don’t be afraid of silences. You are entitled to consider your responses.

Be sure to thank the interviewer at the end of the call, and always follow-up with a thank you email that confirms your continued interest in the position.

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