I am 3 for at least 10 in phone interviews in the past 6 months. I am not a big fan of basketball, but I'd say my field goal percentage isn't that good. In August of 2014, I did my first phone interview, then later that week, I was asked to come in for an in-person interview. A couple of weeks later, I got a phone interview with another company, and I was asked to come in for a second interview as well. Because I passed the phone interview on my first two tries, I immediately assumed I was a natural at phone interviews.
Over the next 4 months, I had about 7 more phone interviews only to receive an email saying "While we enjoyed interviewing you, we have decided to move on with other candidates...." This made me really think, do I even know how to prepare for that phone call? I didn't. I followed every tip for these telephone interviews, from having my resume in front of me to being in a quiet location during the interview. Yet, something was always off.
Lucky for me, I got another phone interview just last week, and this time I was more prepared. I was so much more prepared that I broke my 7 interview losing streak, and got another chance at an in-person meeting. So, what did I do differently? I only changed one thing...
I know what some of you are thinking: "What does body language have to do with a phone interview? Body language only matters when someone can see you." Unfortunately, that is not the case.
In my case, for example, my body language was terrible during phone interviews. As a result, one thing or the other would be off when I was speaking. Either I would rush my words, speak too slowly, speak too quietly, zone out, etc. So, let me paint you a picture of how I looked during my calls. Usually, I would be slouching on a couch in my house, with some shorts and a t-shirt on, while nervously waiting in front of my phone for the interviewer to call. Either that, or I would be pacing around while waiting to get called.
This time, I decided to stand up, push my chest out, and have my feet shoulder width apart (like the Superman stance). What a difference that made! Not only was my voice clearer and confident, but I felt at ease when talking to the interviewer. One day later, I got an email saying "... we would like to move forward with an in-person interview... "
Why did my interview improve?
Have you ever heard of Albert Mehrabian? Yeah, I haven't either. I just learned of him a few days ago. But, although I never knew of him, his research explains why my interviewed improved. His research stated that words convey 7% of communication, vocal expression conveys 38%, and body language conveys 55% of communication.
To make things even better, when you are on the phone, since body language cannot be seen, vocal expression makes up 75% of communication. In other words, what you say does not mean as much as how you say something.
This is where your posture comes in. Having great posture allows you to breathe properly which allows you to speak properly and loudly.
Therefore, you will be more confident whether speaking on the phone or in person. Still, I can't say that I was perfect on the last interview, so there are still more things that I can improve such as dressing as if I am at a face to face interview and more.
Where I need to improve? ACTION PLAN
-- Overall body language: Although, my body language was great during that phone interview, I want it to be great all the time. So, I will spend at least 2 hours a week purposefully working on a strong posture.
-- Dressing for success: My previous boss told me that I should dress in accordance to the role I want. So, I will dress in a shirt and tie during phone interviews because, although I can't be seen, how I dress will affect how I feel.
A business administration graduate, Shaquille spent 10 months "living broke" and struggling in search of a job. Soon after creating a blog to motivate himself and assist others, he was offered a full-time position in social media/digital marketing and continues to pursue his goal of becoming a "great digital marketer." A self-professed fan of Phineas and Ferb, Naruto, and EDM, Shaquille writes candidly about his strengths and weakness, and offers job search advice based upon personal experience. For more, read his post on the habits of successful job seekers at http://brokewithadegree.com/2015/02/6-habits-of-successful-job-seekers/, or visit http://www.meaportal.com/.
© 2015 Shaquille Telford
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