Modern technology has allowed us to communicate with one another no matter how far away we might be, which has changed the way we conduct both personal and professional interactions. But as a college student just entering, or re-entering, the workforce, don’t assume that tech-savvy will be enough to perform well in a phone interview. In the professional realm, interviewing by telephone or video conferencing is almost as common as traditional in-person interviews because it saves time and money for both parties involved. However, the unfamiliar set-up of a phone interview can often be intimidating for interviewees, especially if you’re fresh out of college and have little interviewing experience as it is, and doesn’t always follow the same rules as the traditional interview does. To ace your next phone interview, make sure to consider the following four crucial tips for a successful professional conference call.
1. Always Have a Hard Copy of Your Resume In Front Of You
In a world where we depend on the Internet for virtually everything, it’s hard to imagine that there may be a time when it won’t be around to help when access to important information is necessary. This may sound old-school, outdated, and ‘so 90s’ to the young job-seeker, a hard copy could be just the thing to help guide you successfully through the interview.
Although it’s unlikely that your Internet will suddenly crash during your phone interview, you want to make sure to have a physical copy of your resume, job description, notes and any other important information you’ll need for reference during the interview. A hard copy not only guarantees complete access, it helps you stay more organized during the conversation by taking notes and crossing off topics that were already addressed.
2. Dress to Impress
Do you tend to feel more confident with unkempt hair and sweats or professional attire and excellent grooming? Sure, the former may make you feel more comfortable, and after all this is a phone interview, but it won’t help you get into the psychological mindset of professionalism that you need to ace the interview. Believe it or not, this is no time for casually slouching around the dorm or apartment.
According to career expert Penelope Trunk, people often debate replacing suits in the workplace with business casual attire. To settle the argument, several studies were conducted to see how this new dress code might affect work ethic. The conclusion was made that people take their work more seriously when they’re dressed in professional attire, which is why dressing to impress can help you stay in the right mindset for the interview.
3. Check Your Equipment
Young students might not remember this, but there was a time where a physical wire came out of the wall and attached to the phone! OMG unbelievable! That’s right youngsters, even if you have the best cell phone service in the country, it’s usually best to play it safe by using a landline for your phone interview to prevent the risk of dropped calls, static and other disturbances that can affect the success of the interview. Once you’ve decided which phone to use, you’ll want to check it for sound quality and make sure to disable special features such as call waiting, answering machines and additional phone lines. Doing so can prevent potential distraction and embarrassment, which can interfere with your professional appeal. And you might want to avoid the payphone in the quad or by the laundry room…who knows what kinds of interruptions you might face!
4. Close with a Lead-In
The purpose of a phone interview is to ultimately present yourself in a positive manner that will land you an invitation to an in-person interview. Because this is the ultimate goal, you want to avoid ending the conversation without making a professional effort to accomplish this. To do so, ask the interviewer what the process is for determining who is brought to the next level of face-to-face interviewing. Find out how long you should expect to wait for whoever is in charge to make a decision and ask when the appropriate time is for a follow-up call. Avoid asking too many questions that may make you look desperate, but be assertive about what you’re after to show that you’re interested and serious about the job at hand.
For more information on finding out how you might fit into the workforce after college, check out career guru Richard Bolles’ extensive guidance on the interview process, as well as other tips for acing the interview in his best-selling book “What Color is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers.” By combining the advice above with the information in this helpful text, you can count on a successful phone interview that improves your odds of achieving a face-to-face session.