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Job Interviews: Six Steps to Acing a Telephone Interview

Telephone interviews are becoming more popular these days. Whether that's good or bad depends on how you handle them!

Sometimes telephone interviews are used as a pre-screening technique for all candidates. Other times they are reserved for candidates who live far away.

Regardless of the reason, you must take them as seriously as an in-person interview.

In other words, you must be prepared if you're going to ace the test. Here are six steps that will help you do just that:

#1. Take the call when you're ready. If an employer calls and wants to do the interview when you're not expecting it (instead of setting up an appointment), excuse yourself politely ("I'm in the middle of something right now?") and offer to call back in ten minutes. This will give you time to prepare.

#2. Get rid of distractions. Take the call on a phone in a quiet room - away from co-workers, radio, television, family, roommates, or anything else that may make noise or take your attention away from your task.

#3. Gather your tools by the phone. These include:

• Your resume

• Pen and paper to jot down notes, including the interviewer's name

• Company research (with relevant information highlighted)

• Questions to ask about the company and position

• A list of your selling points to mention, and items to cover as you talk about the position. These include your best qualities, specific experience and skills related to the position, and personal traits such as dedication, enthusiasm, and team-building skills.

#4. Stand up to talk. Your position affects the quality of your voice. If you are sitting down relaxing, you don't project the same enthusiasm and intensity as you do if you're standing up. Also, smile as you're talking. It will come through in your voice.

#5. Make a good sales presentation. You are selling yourself, so make sure you do it well... Just as you would during an in-person interview. Ensure that you've covered all the selling points on your list. (You do have a list, don't you?)

#6. Let the employer end the interview. When it's obvious the conversation is over, don't try to drag it on. Say "Thank you for your time," reiterate your interest in the position, and ask what the next step will be.

Follow these steps, perform well on the telephone, and you'll be invited to an on-site interview with the hiring manager!

Bonnie Lowe is author of the popular Job Interview Success System and free information-packed ezine, "Career-Life Times." Find those and other powerful career-building resources and tips at her website:

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