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  Office Etiquette - interview etiquette
Guidelines for Telephone Interviews

If you’re a student who applied to a University off shore or someone who is on the hunt for a new job, we have to tell you that the next time the phone rings to stay prepared. Why? Because, nowadays a majority of screening tests are carried out over the telephone.

Telephone interviews are designed to reduce expenditures especially in the case of out-of-town candidates, is now used as a highly successful method in screening candidates for in-person interviews.

While it’s important that you stay prepared for the interview, speaking on the phone isn’t always as easy as it might seem. This critical conversation could make or break your dream. This is what you can do. Practice your conversation over the phone. Make a friend or colleague ask all the typical questions you could be faced with and if possible record your dialogue to see how you fare. It’s only after being caught on tape that you’ll be able to hear your “uhs”, “yahs” or “okays”.

Here are a few things to need to keep note of during a phone interview:

• Don't smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink during your conversation.
• Do keep a glass of water handy, in case you need to wet your mouth.
• Smile. You might doubt the relevance of this as your conversing over the phone, but smiling will help project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice.
• Make sure to speak slowly and pronounce clearly.
• Use the person's title (Mr. or Ms. and their last name.) Use their first name only if they ask you to.
• Don't interrupt the interviewer.
• It’s perfectly acceptable to take your time to collect your thoughts before speaking up.
• Do keep your answers short.
• Take notes about what you were asked and how you answered.
• Remember to say thank the person for the interest shown.
• Remember your goal is to set-up a face-to-face interview. After you thank the interviewer ask if it would be possible to meet in person.

Pre interview preparation

How prepared are you to attend an interview and make a good impression? Here are some tips that will give you an advantage over your competition.

• Find out all you can about your prospective employer. The Internet has huge amounts of information, and anything you can’t find here can be obtained from your local Chamber of Commerce.
• Confirm when, and where the interview is to be held, and find out how long it will take you to get there from where ever you are. Make allowances for road blocks and breakdowns.
• Rehearse answers to technical and personal questions, and also to queries about your career, and why you want this particular job.
• Have extra copies of your CV and any other certificates you may be carrying with you.
• Visit the rest room, check your appearance, and take a few quiet moments to calm yourself down.

Interview manners

Here are some tips to conduct yourself with utmost grace and confidence, at an interview.

• Shake hands, introduce yourself, and wait to be invited to sit down.
• Don’t put your nervousness on display by sitting on the edge of your chair, swinging your legs or fiddling with your clothes.
• Your pre-interview rehearsals will help you deal with the interviewers’ questions. Smile, and speak of your achievements with confidence. This is not the time or place for modesty!
• If you are overcome with stage fright, look at just one interviewer, and pretend this is a one-on-one interview.
• Remember the interview is a dialogue. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. However, don’t dominate the conversation, or allow your questioning to turn into an interrogation.
• Don’t smoke, talk ill of your previous employer, or tell obvious lies about your work experience, achievements, and salary.

Finally, smile and thank the interviewers for their time, and express definite interest in the job.

Post interview manners

Once your interview is over, comes the hardest part, waiting for a response from the company. Use this interval in the most productive manner.

• Always write a note to the interviewer to thank them for their time.
• Without gushing, reiterate your eagerness to work with the company.
• If you have used any of your contacts as a reference, regardless of whether you get the job or not, write to them also, and thank them for their time and effort.

At the appropriate time, you may call the company back, and enquire about their hiring decision.


The interview is over, and you’re quite sure the job is yours, but then again, maybe you’re not! How do you go about making polite enquiries?

• At the interview, you will be told when the hiring decision will be made. You can call at that time and ask about your chances.
• If no such mention has been made, it is customary to wait up to two weeks before you call. Be patient, flooding the interviewer with information about yourself in a bid to impress, rarely helps.
• If you haven’t got the job, it is perfectly acceptable to ask why. You may get a response, but you may not like the reply. At least you will know. This is not the occasion to throw a tantrum or declare that they have passed up an opportunity to hire the perfect candidate. Rather, learn from the feedback, and let it go!
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