Thursday, January 3, 2013

Seven Tips to Improve Your Professional Appearance on Your Next Phone Interview

Normally, you think of professional appearance for an in-person interview. However, your professional image is just as important when talking on the phone. In fact, it may be even more important because phone interviews are usually used for the initial screening interview. If you don't make a good first impression, you probably won't get that second chance to improve!

Here are several details you may normally overlook. Follow these tips to improve the phone interviewer's perception of your overall professional appearance.

  • Dress for the interview.  Get out of your pajamas or sweats and look the part. When you look the part, you will feel the part and it will positively impact your performance.
  • Use a land line and a hands-free headset if possible. If you must use a cell phone, ensure well before the interview that the room in which you plan to conduct the interview has acceptable reception.
  • If you have a home office or desk, this is where you should sit to conduct the interview. Try to avoid looking out a window and avoid the temptation to surf the Internet or play computer solitaire during the interview.
  • Don't forget to smile during the conversation. A smile on your face often conveys itself through your voice. If possible, set up a mirror in front of you when you interview. You may feel silly, but making eye contact with yourself will strengthen the confidence in your voice and will remind you to smile.
  • Arm yourself with information. For some unknown reason, people tend to prepare less when they are conducting a phone interview. Stand out from the crowd by having your resume, the job posting, your research on the company, your pre-prepared questions for the interviewer, a list of your accomplishments and skills, and your calendar on the desk in front of you.
  • Watch your tone of voice. Inject enthusiasm into your voice without talking too fast. Be careful to speak slowly without droning on in a monotone.
  • Remove all distractions such as animals or children. Turn off the telephone and your cell phone or silence any additional phones in the room. Don't type on your computer during the interview. You would be amazed at how much can be heard in the background of your call.

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