Telephone interviews are becoming more commonplace, especially for entry level professionals.  They differ from face to face interviews in one critical way: the recruiter can’t see you so you have to make sure your personality shines through the phone line.  Here are a few things you can do to make sure you ace the initial screen…

  • Be prepared.  Although telephone interviews/screenings can be scheduled ahead of time, they can happen at any time, whenever someone gets your resume and wants to talk to you.  Be prepared.  Keep your resume near the phone.  Create a cheat sheet with standard interview questions and answers prepared.  At the very least, prepare the answers to “Tell me about yourself”, “what are your strengths and weaknesses” and “why do you want this job”.
  • Use a landline for all phone interviews.  Borrow one if you have to.  Static that can result from even the best cell phone service can disrupt the conversation.
  • As with any job search, your voice mail greeting should be a professional one.  ”You have reached Susan Kennedy.  I am not available to take your call.  Please leave your name and number and I will call you back as soon as possible”.
  • During the interview, stand up and walk around. Smile!  Make sure your voice is as animated as possible.  Use your hands, etc to make your point.

Lastly, be sure to thank the recruiter for his/her time and ask about next steps.

Susan Kennedy is the Founder of Career Treking, a job coaching firm that specializes in helping college students and graduates identify and find the right job. Since 2005, Susan has helped countless college grads find their ideal position and career path, regardless of college major. Susan has also published a book, The Job Coach for Young Professionals. You can find Susan on Facebook and follow her on Twitter at @SusanCareerTrek.