As my clients progress their social distancing compliant interviewing, we are seeing more and more phone based interviews. I thought I’d focus on Phone Interviewing as opposed to Video Interviewing as this is a skill area you can train yourself in.
- Dress like you would a regular interview
- Look in the mirror when you speak, try and look confident to yourself you will sound more confident to the listener
- Use the same body language as you would if in person. Open palms, expressive and positive
- Stand up
Verbally you can convey a range of messages. As someone who speaks to the majority of candidates over the phone there are those who come across well and those who, simply put, do not. The factors governing this are in your control but do require work to get tip-top.
Naturally you want to be in the group that leaves a good impression. How do you do this?
1)Words per minute – a good WPM rate is 140-160 or about the rate at which a newsreader would carry on.
2)Pauses before answers – these should be no more than 7 seconds
3)‘ERM’ – and other filler-language makes you sound unsure. You can reduce this by reading what you are talking about beforehand (project, CV, job specification, company website the list goes on). If tempted to say ‘erm’ ‘thingie’ etc, simply pause and collect your thoughts, again up to 7 seconds is ok (but be mindful of overall WPM)
4)Statements – confident people make statements ‘I did’ ‘I have’
5)Tone of Voice – this is a weird one but go with it… deeper voices are more confident. We vote for politicians with deep voices, and all adjust our voices downwards if wanting to speak confidently.
6)Avoid Upwards Inflection – i.e. the Australian high pitched sentence end that sounds like a question. This is a massive no-no as it sounds unsure. Practice ‘This Court is Adjourned’ in a deep voice versus as an upward-inflected question and you’ll get my point.
7)ATQ (or ATFQ in my case) – I was told to write this on my hand before every exam as I go off on tangents. Answer The Question.
8)Stand up – you will open your airway, project better and come across as more confident it is a very quick-win. I personally wear out carpets in my office as I also pace when I speak. It helps even if mentally I just feel more confident I’m a massive advocate of ‘if you feel good, you sound good’.
9)Dress well. This doesn’t’ take much doing wear clothes you would interview in. This is about mentally putting yourself in ‘interview mode’ or ‘professional mode’.
10)Look in the mirror – believe it or not you will sound more confident if you act more confident, try and project your ‘confident self’ – it will come across in the call. The interviewer can’t see you after all. Make eye contact with yourself.
11)Avoid paper – rustling paper is not a great noise however a tablet can be great if you really feel like you want some notes in front of you
12)Avoid drinks – slurping/gulping coffee sounds awful down a phone line, carbonated drinks are obviously a bad idea … the interview will take around 30 minutes in most cases. Have a pint of water just ahead of that and you’ll do fine.
Ok those are my main hints, I’m keen to learn anything that other people do to help their phone appointments go better and do leave any more hints you have in the comments!
Best of luck
p.s. here are two books if you are further keen on expanding your skills in speaking, listening and influencing.
To Sell Is Human – Daniel Pink
Leading – Sir Alex Ferguson