Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Establishing Rapport in a Phone Interview

Often the interview process starts with a phone interview. One of the biggest challenges in a phone interview is establishing rapport with the interviewer. Without observing facial expressions and body language, it is hard to get a good read on how the interviewer is reacting to you and your responses. However, paying attention to auditory clues like those listed below can help you assess the impression you’re making on the interviewer:
  • Pitch (how high or low the voice is overall)
  • Tonality (pitch change from high to low)
  • Speaking pace
  • Voice volume
Auditory clues can indicate personality characteristics. For example, a soft voice may be perceived as timid, while a loud voice may convey assertiveness. Be aware of auditory clues during your conversation, and consider whether you might use those clues to adjust your speech accordingly. For example, if the interviewer speaks very quickly, it may suggest the desire for efficiency and hint at an energetic nature. If you, in turn, speak slowly, it may frustrate the interviewer or suggest you are less than excited about the job.
Before a phone interview, try recording your responses to some typical interview questions and play them back to get an idea of how you sound. What auditory clues are you sending to an interviewer? Practice varying your pitch, volume, speed, and tonality. Pay close attention to how you sound while discussing achievements or talking about why you’d be an asset to an organization. Are you helping to sell yourself by conveying enthusiasm in your tone?
Here are some additional tips about phone interviewing that can help you make a good impression on the interviewer:
  • Find a quiet place and avoid interruptions
  • Keep your resume and list of achievements handy for reference
  • Dress professionally; If you feel professional, you’ll speak more professionally
  • Warm up your voice prior to an interview
  • Smile when you’re speaking to convey friendliness
  • Stand if you think it will help you convey a stronger voice
  • Avoid simple yes and no answers
  • Recognize when you’ve sufficiently answered a question, and then stop talking so as to avoid sounding nervous
  • Enunciate your words; use correct grammar and complete sentences
  • Be enthusiastic and confident

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