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Note: We came across this article prior to 2005 and have lost track of the source. It remains a good resource.

Successful Job InterviewingMany companies use telephone screening as a cost-effective tool and if you are interviewing for a position in another location, it will be the rule and not the exception.  Telephone screening enables companies to weed out candidates whose qualifications and sincere interest are questionable.  Telephone interviewing is impartial.  One candidate does not have visual advantage over another.  Voice content and tone are the important factors.  How well does the candidate express him/herself?  How well does he/she listen?  Does the candidate ask quality questions?  Is there excitement about the prospect of visiting the company?  Prepare for a telephone interview as you would for an in-person interview, plus keep these things in mind:

  1. Set the stage.  Arrange a time that is mutually agreeable so you can speak freely.  If you are called unexpectedly and the time is inconvenient, ask the caller if it is possible to talk at a more convenient time.
  2. Allow sufficient time.
  3. Do not drink, smoke, chew gum, eat, chew on a pencil, chew tobacco or do anything else that will interfere with your voice.
  4. Have a pad and pencil in front of you to take notes and with prepared questions.
  5. Listen carefully, do not interrupt, pause to collect your thoughts before launching into your answer.  Do not talk too softly or too loudly.
  6. Smile, it comes through over the phone.
  7. Modulate your voice to emphasize points.
  8. Keep your answers concise and to the point.  Rambling answers lose the listener.
  9. Remember that word choice, pitch, modulation, and other verbal clues signify intelligence, alertness, and enthusiasm.  The telephone magnifies subtleties that may go unnoticed in face to face discussions.  Voice inflection gives color and texture to ordinary words.

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