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How to Start a Conversation on a Telephone Interview

Once you make a first impression, there’s no opportunity to change it. Ensure a successful telephonic interview conversation by starting it on a positive note.

Once you make a first impression, there’s no opportunity to change it. This is especially true in a phone interview conversation because the caller must rely on only the sound of your voice and the words you speak to evaluate you as a job candidate. From the moment you start a phone interview, be polite, confident and alert. Ensure a successful telephonic interview conversation by starting it on a positive note. Studies have shown that the first 30 seconds of an interview, in person or on the phone, matter when it comes to selecting a candidate for a job. Confidence and calmness come across during a phone interview conversation, so try to project those traits as much as possible.

Answer the Phone Professionally

You want to be right near your phone at the time of your phone interview conversation so that you don’t miss the call. If you are using a cell phone, make sure it’s charged and that you get good reception where you are. When the phone rings, pick it up in a timely manner. You don’t need to jump to answer on the first ring, but don’t let it almost go to voicemail. When you answer, state your name clearly and pleasantly to let the interviewer know that she’s reached the correct person.

Examples:

Hi, this is Jossy James.

Hi, this is debby tony. Is this Mr. Roy?

Addressing the Interviewer

Address the interviewer by her title and last name, unless she has instructed you to call her by her first name only. This may happen during the course of the conversation, or may not happen at all. Follow the interviewer’s cues.

Example:

This is still a great time to chat, Mrs. Swanson. Thank you for asking.

Thank the Interviewer

When figuring out how to start a phone interview, decide how you want to thank the interviewer. It’s a good idea to thank the interviewer both at the start of the telephonic interview conversation and at the end. Your appreciation sets a positive tone for the rest of the conversation and helps end the call on a positive note.

Examples:

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the position.

I really appreciate you interviewing me for this position. It sounds great.

Connect with the Interviewer

Part of making a good impression is being able to connect with the interviewer. Your phone interview conversation should include a question directed toward the interviewer that shows you are interested in him. Interviewers often ask at the outset if there are any questions you have before they get started. Now is the time to mention something you noticed in your research of the interviewer and the company. It can be hard to tell over the phone if you are connecting with the interviewer, but there is usually an ease to the conversation if you are.

Examples:

I noticed on the website that you have worked at the company for about five years. Do you mind me asking how you got started with the company?

I see you’re calling from a 310 phone number. What part of Los Angeles are you in? I used to live there.

Let the Interviewer Guide the Conversation

When it comes to the actual interview portion of your phone interview conversation, let the interviewer lead. She will have specific questions she wants to ask at the start of the call and may have a predetermined order for what questions to ask. Try your best to not interrupt when she’s asking questions, and answer the questions in the order they are asked.

If you start your phone interview conversation on the right foot, it can give you the confidence boost you need to continue with a great interview.

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