It’s easy to understate the importance of a phone interview, dismissing it as merely the first step in the long job-search process. In reality, a seemingly cursory phone interview is actually the most important step, because without success, the next steps never happen.
Follow these phone interview tips and make it your business to secure a face-to-face meeting:
1. Print it out. Have a physical copy of your resume and the job description in front of you during the call. Type up a bulleted list of items you want to cover during the conversation. As each one gets satisfied, cross it off the list. Printouts are necessary in case your Internet access fails.
2. Have Web access. It’s always best to give your full concentration to the interview, listening and answering questions diligently. However, also take advantage of the fact that the interviewer can’t see you. Open up the company’s website in your browser and have another window open to the search engine of your choice. But be sure to never let the interviewer hear you typing. Invest in a quiet keyboard or practice the art of silent typing.
3. Disable extra phone features. Whether it’s call waiting or an answering machine for an additional phone line, turn off all your phone accessories. These noises can be a distraction and embarrassment, sabotaging your chances of moving the interview process forward. Most phone companies let you disable and re-activate these features on a self-service basis.
Read the rest of my article at U.S. News and World Report.