This week I (Andrea) was doing some phone interviews for one of my clients. I’ve done hundreds of them, sometimes one after another after another after another. They’re exhausting, especially when you’re asking the same questions over and over again. But what makes them even worse is listening to someone on the other end of the phone who is not putting in the effort to make it through the interview to the next round.
If you really want the job or the project or the client, read on and use these four tips to make sure you survive your next phone interview.
Answer the Phone
I know this seems like a ridiculous tip, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called an interviewee at the scheduled and agreed upon time only to receive be sent to voicemail. Sometimes the voicemail box is full or inoperative, so I can’t leave a message. And I do leave a message, to let them know I called. If they call me back immediately, I go on with the interview. If not - it’s over.
I once had a girl call me back about 15 minutes later, apologizing for not answering, but she was on the phone with her mom and her mom likes to talk. Needless to say, she didn’t move forward in the interview process. If you can’t answer your phone, you shouldn’t apply for a job.
Pretend You’re Having a Great Day
It is so important to be positive and upbeat during the phone interview, and I need to hear it in your voice. I can’t see you, so you have to convey to me how great you are. To do that, I want you to pretend you’re having an amazingly great day. I’ve had my own interviews where I’ve been suffering with a migraine but once that call starts, I’m the cheeriest, happiest person without a pain in the world.
First, smile. It sounds silly but it makes all the difference in the world. Smile on the phone when you speak. I can hear it in your voice, really! It makes me feel better about you. Next, tell me something interesting or chat a bit about something non-business. So, how is your day going, Andrea? Is it hot where you’re at? It’s sweltering here today. It’s a cheap shot, but it shows me you want to engage in a conversation, not just answer questions. You’ll sound human to me and that’s good for business.
Nearing the end of my interviews, I always ask the interviewee if he or she has any questions for us(the company). This is a standard interviewer question, so you should always have at least two questions ready. And honestly, “When are you looking to hire someone?” is not that great of a question. Before the interview - LONG BEFORE THE INTERVIEW - go to the company’s website and read it. I don’t mean “take two minutes and look it over.” I mean read it. Learn about the company or client you’re applying to. Get to know them and formulate some real questions during your interview.
Remember my Name
This might be a personal tip for me, but I really appreciate after a 15-30 minute interview having someone say, “thank you for calling, Andrea.” Saying someone’s name makes it very personal, and it makes me believe that the person was paying attention to the whole application and interview process.
If you really want the next job, put in the extra effort with these four tips, and, along with our previous post on Applying for an Online Job - 5 Things You Must Do to be a Top Candidate, you’ll be well on your way to securing your next assignment.
Frankie and Andrea take turns sharing stories. Just good talk over a cup of coffee.