Being interviewed for a job over the phone is very different from being grilled in person. To get the gig, you need to tweak your technique.
Step 1: Arrange a good time Arrange a time when you can speak freely without interruptions. That means no kids, dogs, or nosy co-workers anywhere nearby.
TIP: Keep your resume on hand in case an employer calls unannounced.
Step 2: Give good phone Take the call on a landline; cell phones are vulnerable to poor reception and dropped calls. If you have call waiting, check with your phone service about suspending it during scheduled interviews. Whatever phone number you left as your contact, make sure its outgoing message is professional.
Step 3: Prepare notes Unlike an in-person interview, you can have notes in front of you. Take advantage by setting up information cheat sheets about the company and your interviewer. Organize your notes in bulleted points so you don't sound rehearsed, and prepare answers to common questions, like, "Why do you want to work for our company?"
TIP: If your interviewer is in another part of the country, check their local news so you'll have some timely icebreakers ready.
Step 4: Know your salary needs Know your salary requirements. Because phone interviews are sometimes a way to narrow an applicant pool, many prospective employers begin the dialogue with that discussion.
Step 5: Rehearse Record a mock phone interview with a friend so you can correct any verbal tics like speaking too fast or saying "you know" too often.
Step 6: Make silence golden Make sure you're far away from anything that could make a distracting sound, and be sure to mute your computer, cell phone, and PDA to avoid interruptions.
Step 7: Give a performance Sit or stand up straight during the interview, wear something professional, and smile when you speak. You may feel silly, but speech experts say it will make you sound more alert and self-possessed.
TIP: Use a headset if you can. It will allow you to move around and make the gestures you normally make when you speak, which will help you come across as more relaxed and confident.
Step 8: Shut up occasionally Don't be a blabbermouth. The interviewer is likely taking notes, so give them some time to do so.
Step 9: Send a thank you End a phone interview the way you would end an in-person one – by sending a written note or e-mail thanking the interviewer for their time and reiterating your interest in the position.
FACT: A candidate who flushed the toilet during a phone interview made a top-10 list of the worst job-hunter blunders.