Though you can learn a lot about somebody by talking to them in person, these days a telephone or Skype interview is a perfectly acceptable alternative and something you might encounter on your job search. Because this kind of interview lacks the face to face element, though, you’re going to have to try a bit harder to get your points across. Here’s how:
Don’t get tripped up by technology
Make sure that there will be no technical errors or anything to jeopardize the interview while it’s underway. Make sure your phone works fine, your headset isn’t broken, your internet connection is solid and that you know how to use conference calling software if your interview will be with more than one person.
Give yourself enough time
Don’t sit down to a phone interview 2 minutes before it starts, and also avoid scheduling something else for right after. If you’re rushed or distracted, it will show in your voice and you won’t be able to give the interviewer your full attention.
It’s still an interview
It might sound silly, but prepare your interview as you would an in-person one: get dressed nicely, sit up straight, and smile and gesture as you talk. True, they won’t see any of this, but it will absolutely come through in your voice and what you say. It’s possible to hear when a person is smiling. Throw your shoulders back and open your lungs so that your voice projects well.
Focus on your breathing
Speaking of your voice, in a telephonic interview this becomes much more important as it’s all the interviewer has to go on. Take some deep breaths beforehand and remember to slow down (people often speak too quickly when they’re nervous). Enunciate your words clearly, avoid saying “um” or “like” and make sure you’re not breathing heavily into the mouthpiece. Pay attention also to the pitch of your voice: nervousness makes the voice higher-pitched. Consciously lower your voice a little and try to speak clearly, calmly and with focus.
Watch for distractions
Let everyone know when and where you will be having your telephone interview and that they should not disturb you. A barking dog or crying baby in the background can be distracting and unprofessional. Make sure you won’t be receiving guests, other calls or people hooting at your gate during this time.
It’s a little unprofessional to ask your interviewer to just “hang on a second” while you scratch around for your CV or some other information. Have everything easily on hand and be ready to answer questions.
Pay attention to the conversation
Lastly, a telephonic conversation can’t fall back on non-verbal or body language, so you’ll need to be more clear in your communication. Listen carefully, don’t interrupt and think for a second what you intend to say before you say it. Keep your voice friendly and professional, and you’ll make a good impression on your interviewer.