By Heather Eagar

It can be nerve-wracking preparing for a phone interview. It is the second impression that you will make on a hiring decision maker – the first impression was obviously made for you by your resume and cover letter, and must have been positive, or you would not have the phone interview appointment. That being the case, it is worth while to prepare and be ready to put your best foot forward.

Step One

Rehearse your responses to possbile questions. Practice in front of the mirror, or with a friend or spouse listening to you, asking questions and playing the part of the interviewer. Make a list of questions you expect the interviewer to ask and have good answers prepared, but have them on the top of your head in general and not memorized. Memorized answers can sound canned and not real, and will hurt you more than help you. You need to appear genuine and real during the phone interview.

Step Two

Prepare and practice two or three ideas that you want to get across to the interviewer as to why you are the right person for this job. If you are having trouble thinking of ideas, read your resume again. Look for the key points, qualifications or accomplishments you have written that helped you get the phone interview in the first place, and be ready to discuss them.

Step Three

Think of what you can do for the company. The hiring manager really doesn’t care why you would like the job; he cares about how you can help his company if you are hired.

Step Four

Get dressed. Wear the same clothes when you are on the phone that you would wear if you were in front of the interviewer in person. Dress for success and your attitude will reflect it. Dress in your pajamas or an old sweat shirt and your attitude may reflect that as well.

Step Five

Smile. Smiles are contagious, even if they can’t be seen. Good salesmen know this and practice smiling on the phone. There is something in your voice and attitude that is conveyed when you smile, and the person on the other end of the phone can sense it. There is truth in the old saying, “Smile and the world smiles with you.” It is basic human nature.

Step Six

Speak clearly and enunciate. Use a good quality phone, a land line not a cordless. If at all possible do not use a cellular phone for the phone interview. Crackling noises are distractions and bad cell sites, leading to dropped calls, are a negative. You want the employer to be thinking positive things during your interview.

Step Seven

The phone interview itself. Relax, be yourself and do your best. When the phone interview is over remember to thank the interviewer for his or her time, and offer to provide any other information they might need to make a decision. Be professional during the phone interview and you may well be rewarded with a job.

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