5 key steps to prepare for a phone interview
(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY We haven't fully recovered from the Jobpocalypse of the recession, and many people are still looking for work -- or, at the very least, exploring opportunities to improve on the job they had to take a couple of years ago when there was nothing better available. Whatever the reason for your job search, you'll no doubt have to prepare for a few phone interviews -- the first step to getting called in for a face-to-face interview with the hiring manager.
Recently, Wisebread cataloged a few "secrets" to a great phone interview, and much of their advice was spot on. Here are the top things to consider as you prepare for the phone interviews in your own job search:
Dedicate a landline. Yes, most of us have embraced cell phones for virtually all communication, but mobile phones aren't as reliable or have as good sound quality as an old-fashioned landline. Consequently, you should eschew your smartphone for your home landline when scheduling a phone interview with a prospective employer.
Practice your speaking skills. Your verbal skills are the only thing you have to promote yourself with the interviewer, so make it count. Practice your speaking and interviewing abilities ahead of time. Wisebread suggests joining an organization like Toastmasters to hone your speaking skills, but there are easy things you can do at home as well. Check out SayHired, for example, where you can practice your phone interview skills with a real phone call, for free.
Be ready to talk about your skills. Review your performance history and resume; be ready to talk about specific examples of projects, successes, and skills you have demonstrated. Treat this like the real, in-person interview.
Have questions ready. Will you be ready to ask questions when the interviewer gives you an opportunity to speak? You ought to. Do your research and have a few questions ready to ask -- not just about the role, but also some "big" questions about the company. Be ready to ask a smart question about the company's future, or how the company is dealing with trends in the industry.
Confirm the details. Be sure to confirm all of the obvious logistical details: The time (and time zone) of the call and who is calling who.
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