How to nail the dreaded phone interview

This is a re-post from Dan Miller’s 48 Days blog at:

by: Dan Miller (

Studies have shown that 90% of communication is nonverbal.  So how do you shine in the increasingly popular phone interview?  You can’t take advantage of your good looks, great wardrobe, firm handshake, eye contact, and JLo perfume. Job Hunter

But there are unique elements of a phone interview that you can use to your advantage:

  • Stand Up.  Standing changes your breathing and your tone of voice.  It makes you sound stronger and more confident.  (I stand and walk when doing phone coaching so I don’t risk sounding tired or too casual.)
  • Have a Mirror Handy.  Yes, be looking yourself in a mirror.  Your smile and facial expressions come through more than you may realize.  Respond physically like you would in person and much of that enthusiasm will be translated via the phone anyway.
  • Have Your Answers Written Out.  This is an open-book test.  You can have your answers to all of the expected questions written out and actually sound much more polished than you may be able to in person.  “What are your three greatest strengths?  What do you look for in a supervisor?  Why did you leave your last job? Be ready with clear responses to these and many more.

Don’t see the phone interview as just a preliminary step of little importance.  It’s the real thing.  Put yourself at the top – it’s fairly easy to outshine the competition.

Here’s just a sampling of the kinds of questions being asked in today’s workplace: 

  1. What would your previous employer list as your greatest strengths?
  2. What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
  3. What have been some of your most significant accomplishments? How were you able to achieve those accomplishments?
  4. What are you looking for in a new position? Why do you want this job? What do you find attractive about this position?
  5. What important changes or trends do you see in this industry? How do you think those changes will affect the way we succeed in this company?
  6. What do you look for in a supervisor? Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and his employee. What do you see as your most difficult task as a manager? What is your management style?
  7. Do you prefer working alone or as part of a team? Are you better working with things, people, or ideas? Are you better at creating or doing?
  8. What kinds of things outside of work do you enjoy? What magazines do you like to read? Name three books you have read in the last year. Are you achieving personal goals you have set?
  9. What does a typical weekend consist of for you? What do you do to relieve boredom?
  10. What other kinds of positions have you been looking at? If we do not select you for this position, would you be interested in another (office, sales, administrative, etc.) position with this company? How does this job compare with others for which you have interviewed? What makes this job different from your current/last one?
  11. Why should we choose you for this position? What can you do for us that someone else cannot do?

If you have the new edition of 48 Days To The Work You Love, you can see an extensive list of questions you can expect on pages 164-167.  I also list unusual questions and 17 questions you should be prepared to ASK.

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