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No phoney business

You just got word that you landed a job interview with a company that really interests you - only there's a catch. You won't be meeting your interviewer(s) face-to-face.

india Updated: Aug 28, 2006 12:13 IST

You just got word that you landed a job interview with a company that really interests you - only there's a  catch. You won't be meeting your interviewer(s) face-to-face.

Instead, you'll be taking part in a phone interview, the results of which will determine whether you would be invited to meet with company representatives in person.

Many companies use phone interviews as an initial employment screening technique for a variety of reasons. Because they're generally brief and save time, they also serve as a more realistic screening alternative for cases in which companies have to consider out-of-town candidates.

In many ways, the way you prepare for a phone interview isn't all that different from the way you'd get ready for a face-to-face interview - save for a few slight additions to and modifications of your list of preparation tasks. Here's what you should do:

Serious talk
Treat the phone interview seriously, just as you would a face-to-face interview.
A phone interview seems so informal on the surface that it can be easy to fall into the trap of "phoning it in" -- i.e., not preparing for it as well as you would have for an in-person interview.
Don't get caught with your guard down. Be sure to research about the company, study the job description, and practise your responses to some anticipated questions.

Keep your resume handy
You may be quizzed about something you have mentioned in your resume. Keep your documents and other supporting material in front of you, such as your CV, covering letter, portfolio of projects, or just a description of all the past positions that you’ve held.

Take notes about the most critical points you want to take up with your interviewer(s).
Are there certain skills and experiences you want to emphasise? Do you have certain interests or passions that you want your interviewer(s) to know about and understand? Discuss them before he/she hangs up on you.

Get connected
Don't risk carrying a mobile phone that cuts in and out, or one with a poor connection that might make it difficult for you and your interviewer(s) to hear and understand each other.

Groom nicely
Odd advice? Perhaps. But focusing on your appearance, just as you would for a normal interview, will put you in the right frame of mind from a psychological standpoint.

Sit bolt upright
Again, this is purely from a psychological point of view.
However on a  more tangible level, research has shown that you are able to project yourself better when you're standing up. This also makes you  feel more knowledgeable and confident. After all tele-interviews can be tricky, especially since you aren’t  able to read all the non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language.

Yet if you are well-prepared, you won't actually need those cues.
You’ll know how well you performed if you’re invited to a face-to-face interview.