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Looking for a job? Know someone who is? Know a young person ready to hit the job market this summer? Recruiters and potential employers use phone interviews to narrow their list of prospects and are ruthless about dumping the duds. A good first impression on the phone is the first step to a personal meeting that can lead to a job (or a sale!). Here are some tips.

#1. Conduct the call from a quiet place
Pick a place where the caller won’t hear leaf blowers, barking dogs, screaming kids, or kitchen or bathroom noises. If you receive an incoming call from a VIP at a bad or noisy time, politely ask to reschedule the call.

#2. Use a land line
Cell phone service is still too unreliable and noisy. Your call can be dropped. Be very careful with internet based phone services like Vonage. Although inexpensive, they can also cause drop outs on important calls.

#3. Give the caller your undivided attention
Multitasking while on the phone has become a bad habit and even a compulsion with many people. If you are focusing on documents on your computer screen or desk while you are on the phone, you’ll get a distracted tone in your voice that the person you are speaking with can hear.

#4. Prepare for the call
If the call is the prelude to a job interview, review the company website. Make notes and have questions ready for the interviewer. Have your resume close at hand and email work samples in advance if requested. Have a glass of water by the phone. Avoid dairy, fried or oily foods before an important call. These foods cause phlegm that can temporarily cause you to clear your throat a lot during the call.

#5. Speak enthusiastically
According to the Wall Street Journal, interviewers listen for vocal cues indicating qualities such as passion, professionalism and enthusiasm. Don’t be guarded. Allow them to get a sense of your personality and who you really are. But don’t be too casual. Unpolished speech habits like calling the interviewer ‘dude’ or ‘brother’ are instant turn offs.

#6. Follow up
After a phone interview, follow up with a thank you email that summarizes the conversation and reinforces your best selling points.

© Copyright 2006 Susan Berkley.   The Great Voice Company , Inc. 110 Charlotte Place, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632 (201) 541-8595



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