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Interviewing Telephone Interviews


Your first substantive contact with a potential employer may occur over the phone in a telephone interview, especially if you are interviewing with an organization outside of Utah. Relocating can add diversity to your background and help you “grow your career.” You may receive a call from an employer as a result of an application you submitted, after meeting at a fair/expo, or to set up an interview; whatever the circumstance be prepared.


Take a Surprise Call in Stride If you receive an unexpected call as a result of networking on your part, be calm. Sound positive, friendly, and confident. Take a moment to gather your thoughts and the items listed in the next section. You might say, “Thank you for calling, Ms. Martinez. Could you wait just a moment while I close the door?”


How to Prepare for a Phone Interview Be prepared for the telephone interview just as you would for an in-person interview. Have ready:  Pen and paper for taking notes  Your resume  A list of accomplishments, experiences, and key points that relate to the position


 Research you have done on the company (see Researching Employers, page 8)


 Questions to ask the interviewer (see Best Questions, page 29)


 Your calendar to schedule future interviews and follow-up dates


Pace the Call Let the representative ask most (but not all) of the questions. Keep up your end of the conversation—this is, after all, a sales presentation. Ask a few questions of your own that will reveal your knowledge and enthusiasm about the company you are interviewing with.


Beware of “Yes/No” Answers “Yes” or “No” answers are excellent when you want to end a conversation in a hurry. AND YOU DON’T WANT TO! Answer questions thoroughly and include appropriate examples of your skills and talents as they relate to the job.


Be Factual in Your Answers Be brief, but thorough. Use examples whenever possible that allow you to talk about previous work experience, relevant projects, and anything else that allows you to display your knowledge of your field and of the company. The first interview is not the time to ask about salary or benefits.


Take Notes These notes will be valuable to you in preparing for the face-to-face meeting and in writing a thank you letter or e-mail, which you should send as soon as possible after the interview.


Follow-up As with any interview, follow-up is critical. Confirm the spelling of the interviewer’s name and be sure you have his/her contact information. This follow-up communication enables you to reiterate your interest in the position and summarize your qualifications as they relate to the position you interviewed for. Sample follow- up letters are in this guide (see Follow-up, page 32).


Last but not Least…… The following tips will help ensure your success in a telephone interview:  Make sure your voice mail greeting is appropriate and professional


 Speak directly into the telephone, enunciate, and speak clearly


 Smile—this comes through in your voice  Dress professionally. This can put you in the right “frame of mind” for the interview


 Make sure your environment is quiet and free from distractions feel free to use an office at Career Services as a quiet spot for an interview


 Finish the interview by reiterating your interest in and qualifications for the position


 Avoid filler words (“um,” “ah,” “ok”)  Practice, if possible, by doing “mock interview at Career Services


 Avoid chewing gum, eating, or drinking  Ask for extra time, if needed, when answering questions


 Don’t feel the need to fill in silences or gaps in conversation


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