Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Telephonic Interviews - how to crack them!

It is very important to fare well during a telephone interview because how you do in this step will determine whether you are screened successfully for the next round. Besides, phone interviews are increasingly replacing face-to-face discussions completely owing to many factors like feasibility, time and expense management etc. 

It is also a fast and standard way to decipher a candidate’s suitability to the profile. Plus it saves a lot of unnecessary expenses and hassles when conducting interviews for out-of-town candidates. Telephonic interviews also help in narrowing down the number of candidates, especially when a company is looking for a large pool of resources.

In spite of the fact that a phone interview will be conducted in a much more favorable atmosphere for the candidate, it still does not stop the feeling of nervous anticipation from piping up. But the truth is that there are manifold advantages and only a few shortcomings of a phone interview for the candidate.

A telephonic interview allows you the time and space to pace yourself for the answer. You will also have the advantage of your interviewer not able to see your nervous body language. You have the freedom to relax within the confines of your own comfortable environment while giving the interview. Besides, you have the option of taking your own time to answer by asking the interviewer to repeat the question. It could be a bad line, after all.  

Even though many of us are aware of that fact, we still tend to get the adrenaline rush when we hear the phone ring. However, there are a few things that we can do to avoid the nervousness and make the interview a win-win situation for ourselves.

Be confident: The first step to turning your phone interview into a successful one; is to sound very confident and sure of yourself when you are answering. Since you do not have the advantage of using your body language to display your confidence, your voice is the only way to portray your assertiveness. Your voice is the only way for the person on the other end to judge you, so make the best use of it. If you are not sure about the answer, take some time and tell it outright instead of fumbling. 
Because once you lose your cool, it will be difficult to get back your surety.

Be prepared: A phone interview is going to be like a face-to-face interview, in the sense that the pattern of questions will most likely be the same. So a phone interview also merits the same kind of preparation. You should give a hard long look at your resume to see if there are any anomalies. You should not contradict any information provided on your CV so a thorough homework on your skills and achievements is a must. You should also do some home-work on the company you are applying for. There are some standard questions like your strength and weakness, reason for leaving previous organization and also why you want to join their company. You should be able to give clear, concise answers which have not been parroted and which are honest. Diplomacy is the key to presenting an unpleasant fact in a round-about way without fabricating the truth.

Avoid distractions: One of the major hindrances of a telephonic interview is the number of distractions one faces during the session. You might find it easier to give an interview from the comfort of your home but then you should ensure that there are no diversions in the vicinity to distract your attention. It is better to switch of the call waiting during the time of the interview as waiting calls are sure to disturb you. It is better to attend the call in the privacy of a locked room to avoid any side talks and other disturbances. You should also ensure that the TV and other media is switched off to avoid giving out an unprofessional vibe.

Do some role-play:

It is always good to have a mock interview with a friend or a colleague (who knows you have applied for another job, of course); and find out from them how you fared in the session. If you want, you can also record the session and play it later to find out if you have faltered anywhere. A mock interview will help you to understand your weak points and gives you the opportunity to improve on any grey areas. It helps you to eradicate any “fillers” (like umm’s, you know, like that, ah’s etc) that you have been unconsciously using or if you have a mother tongue influence.

There are also some common do’s and don’ts that should be kept in mind during a phone interview for the session to go well.

  • Take print-outs of your job description and resume if you do not have a system handy.
  • Do not interrupt the interviewer in the middle of the conversation. Wait for him/her to finish his question and you can then clarify any doubts.
  • Using a cell phone might be convenient but you must be completely sure that the connection is not going to betray you at a crucial moment. If you are not absolutely sure about the network, it is better to use the land-line.
  • Don’t multi-task during your interview. It has become common practice to do some other work while answering the phone but in the case of an interview, it is not prudent to be surfing the net or watching a game in mute. NO matter how good you are at multi-tasking you will tend to miss a question and the person on the other end can easily find out when you are distracted.
  • Munching on your favorite snacks, or even chewing gum or any other chewables should be strictly avoided. While you might need something to take away your nervousness, it is not advisable to keep swallowing or chewing during the conversation.

If all the above factors are kept in mind during a phone interview, it is sure to go well. You need to take a phone interview like any other interview, where you are the person who needs the job and at the same time the company needs you, nobody is doing anyone a favor here. 

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