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Making the Most of Your Telephone or Web Interview

Feb 10, 2008
Not all interviews take place in an office on the 23rd floor. Today, more than ever, interviews are being conducted electronically, whether on the phone, via computer, or teleconference. With each type of medium that does not include an in-person meeting, you need to consider special factors that can make or break your success. When going for a non-traditional interview, consider these tips:

Always use a phone that'ss in a quiet, secluded area.
Your ability to do well on the interview is based on how you present yourself. It's unprofessional and certainly not conducive to impressing a potential employer when there is noise in the background especially if it consists of children crying, dogs barking, or a radio blaring in the background. You wouldn't conduct an interview in an office in this manner so don't do it when calling from home.

Always use a landline, not a cell phone.
Do you ever find it frustrating when speaking to someone via cell and not clearly hearing them? Cell phone signals have a tendency to cut in and out making it difficult for the hiring manager to hear you. Additionally, poor reception will not only distract from the interview process, it will certainly aggravate the employer. Don't risk your interview on the ability of a particular cell phone to help you clearly articulate yourself.

Speak loudly and clearly enough to be heard.
Without the benefit of a sit down interview, articulation becomes and important factor. If a potential employer is forced to say, "Excuse me, I cant hear you," several times without the problem being rectified, you can be assured that person will stop listening to you. Additionally, never eat, drink, or type on your keyboard while on the phone. This can clearly be heard, and it's not something you would do if you were face-to-face with that person.

Listen carefully and do not interrupt.
Many individuals feel that their behavior can be more casual when using the telephone for an interview. Nothing could be further from the truth. You wouldn't interrupt the interviewer in person and you shouldn't do it while on the phone. Wait for pauses in conversation to insert your thoughts or ideas.

If this is a videoconference or other media format.
Consider this to be similar to the in-person interview. Make sure to dress in appropriate business attire. What's more, make very certain that the area behind the video monitor looks professional. Don't make the mistake of having clothes and dirty dishes strewn about your apartment, or inappropriate posters hanging on your wall. Everything, right down to what's on your desk, should look orderly and professional to give the right impression.

If you are asked a question and don't immediately know the answer, don't keep quiet while you think of a response.

This can be a difficult moment in your conversation. If you are asked a question that you don't know the answer to, the silence can become awkward. This is especially true of telephone interviews. After several seconds of dead air, an interviewer may very well think that you're no longer on the line. Instead, preface your coming remarks with, "That's a good question. I want to answer it fully, so please give me a second." That gives the interviewer a sense of what's happening on your end and what to expect.

Now that interviews are taking many forms, it's important to be prepared. Interviewing via phone, video, or web cam requires the same attention to detail that you need to consider when meeting in-person with your future employer.
About the Author
Michael Fleischner is the Managing Editor or ResumeEdge which provides Resume Writing as well as Sample Resumes. Michael has more than 12 years of professional experience helping others achieve their career goals.
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