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Hiring Process | College

9 Ways to Nail a Phone Interview

Monday, May 8, 2017

We’ve got you covered. Here are some top tips directly from our recruiting team:

1) Do your research

You’ve got to work to get to the in-person interview and it won’t be easy so make sure you do your homework. Get to know the company by visiting their website and researching articles. Review the job description again and find the areas that align with your strengths so you can emphasize them in the interview. An important, yet often missed concept is to check operating hours of the company when scheduling your interview. You don’t want to be the impolite person causing problems by offering a time outside of operating hours.

2) Prepare Questions & Take Notes

Ask the intelligent questions that show you have an interest in not only the job, but the company too. This may involve a bit of research as well, but being prepared for questions is important. As a general rule of thumb you’ll want to write down five to seven questions to ask about the company and the job. Remember to take notes during the call so you don’t repeat something or ask a question that was already answered.

3) Find a Quiet Place

There’s nothing worse than a loud noise in the background of the call to keep you from getting a second interview. So think about your space and free it of all distractions. Tell anyone nearby that you aren’t to be disturbed and make sure your pets won’t be an issue either. Remember professionalism, though not a direct question, is still being considered. 

4) Dress to Impress

It’s clear you’ll want to be professional over the phone, which means you’ll also want to feel professional. Wearing your sweatpants may seem like a good idea in the name of comfort, but dressing formally will give you the feeling of being professional. Even though no one can see you, wearing your favorite business outfit can help portray confidence over the phone.

5) Be Early & Relax

We’re all a little nervous when we interview, and that’s okay. Walk around or drink water prior to the interview, but do be ready to answer that phone right away. Being completely ready about five minutes before the interview start time will give you time to collect your thoughts and give you time to prepare to give your full attention to the call. Remember, when you finally answer that phone; introduce yourself by saying your name so the interviewer doesn’t have to ask for you.

6) Power Pose

We’ve established that no one can see you and that’s the truth, but just because you can’t see the reactions of those you’re talking to, doesn’t mean you should ignore your own body language. Power poses that are open and relaxed can go a long way to impacting your confidence and lowering your stress. You can also reduce stress by breathing in for five seconds followed with exhaling for five seconds. Do this several times to not only relieve stress but also help you speak clear and concise.

7) Be Specific

When you’re unable to read expressions of those on the phone, you can often end up rambling on. To keep from doing this, give the interviewer the time to respond by concluding your thoughts with something similar to “This is how I overcame X”. You do want to offer enough detail to get your point across. For example, when discussing your personality, you wouldn’t just say “hard worker”, you would want to give context to this. Give an example of time that displayed your hard work and remember to finish with a conclusion.

8) Sit up Straight & Smile

Just as you wouldn’t slouch in an in-person interview, you also don’t want to slouch over the phone. Sitting up straight allows you to keep from mumbling and offers the sound of confidence through the phone. While in the position of sitting up straight, put a big smile on your face. It may sound like a cliché logo or a silly thing to do when no one can see you, but it actually portrays confident, friendly tones to those on the other side.

9) Close the Call

Just as important as starting the call on the right foot is ending the call on the right foot. Pave the way for more talk down the road and keep it light and short. Please don’t go on about how qualified you are after all the questions have been asked. This is the last piece the interviewer hears from you so make it count.

Phone interviews revolve around confidence. Make sure you take the time prepare as you would an in-person interview. If you have additional questions about the role you’re applying for at UnitedHealth Group, you can visit our online Recruiter Chat. For more interview tips, you can visit our blog on our Careers website. Good luck!

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