Interviews are stressful enough, but having to make your first impression over the phone can make things even more difficult. There are so many things to think about when approaching an interview. Your facial expressions, your handshake, your hand gestures, your suit of choice, etc. So much of that goes into what these people think of you, so it would seem like the phone interview makes it impossible for you to get these great things you have to offer across. But fear not; just because you cannot physically be in front of the person does not mean you cannot still send a positive energy over to them.
Let’s look at one clear benefit you get right off the bat – notes. You can write down whatever phrases, questions, and bullet points you like and have them right in front of you the whole time. That is a very reassuring factor of the phone interview, the fact that you can glance down at some helpful reminders whenever you need to. Certainly, that would not be acceptable in an in-person interview. Another comforting aspect is the fact that you don’t need to dress up. Being able to relax in sweatpants during this conversation rather than being distracted by the unusual fit of your professional suit can greatly help you. It’s these kinds of subtle things that make a big difference in easing your ability to carry a confident and intelligent conversation necessary to nail the interview.
With those benefits in mind, it’s time to figure out how to get your persona across successfully. You may not be able to literally show them your smile and firmly shake their hand, but you can still get those same vibes across. One trick is to smile anyway – a genuine, physical smile is effective in making your voice sound friendlier. On top of that, sit up straight instead of lying on your couch or bed. It’s okay to be relaxed at home as you do this, but not so relaxed that you lose sight of the interview’s importance.
Moreover, speak slowly and clearly. Even if you think you are enunciating perfectly, enunciate even more. You don’t want to hurt your chances of moving forward just because you didn’t speak well enough into the phone. Voices over the phone can easily get muffled and hard to understand, so go out of your way to make yours heard. Additionally, listen very carefully to what the interviewer is saying. If you have trouble hearing them, it’s okay to ask them to repeat something. Don’t worry about feeling the least bit awkward in that situation, because the awkwardness would be a lot worse if you continued on in the conversation without addressing a question correctly. Going along with that, remember that a little silence is okay. If the interviewer pauses after one of your responses, don’t panic and feel the need to keep talking. He or she is probably taking notes, so let them take their time. It can certainly be hard to gage these aspects of the conversation when you are not able to see the person’s reactions, but keep calm and trust that the conversation is flowing just fine.
In the end, a phone interview really gives you some big advantages. Use them to get past the nerves and leave that admissions officer ready to meet you!