Your Phone Interview: The Audition | ESP IT Your Phone Interview: The Audition | ESP IT


Your Phone Interview: The Audition

Acting-AuditionsA phone interview is not unlike an audition.  The company wants to see if you are the right fit and that you are able to play the part.  They want to get a better feeling of how you will fit into their company culture and if you have the qualifications that they are looking for in a potential hire.  More companies are beginning with a phone interview because it is less of a time and financial commitment.  So if you’re on the hunt for a job, being prepared for a phone interview is essential.
As with any audition, it takes time to prepare.  Begin with thoughtful scheduling; you won’t often have much flexibility with interview times but strive to schedule your interview for a time when you are most alert.  Ask how much time should be set aside for the interview.  This will make you sound thoughtful and will give you a better idea of the intensity of the interview.  A shorter time period will indicate a more cursory interview whereas, a longer period of time will indicate a greater need for preparation.
Get into character and start researching the company well in advance to be familiar with what the company does and how you can fit into their mission.  Many actors seek out the back-story of their characters; seek out the back-stories of your future employer and job.  Have questions prepared incorporating what you’ve learned about the company and the job you are applying.  Look over the job description and match up your experiences with the qualifications the employer is looking for.
You wouldn’t whisper on Broadway or talk behind a wall in a screen test so don’t hinder your voice in a phone interview.  Find a landline to use if possible, or at least, a strong signal for your mobile phone.  Do your best to ensure the call will not be dropped and that you won’t have to continually ask the interviewer to repeat themselves because of a bad connection.
The Day Of The Audition
Actors know that it’s important to give their all in an audition to show the director how great they are for the part.  Use the same principle and give your all in the phone interview.  Dress like you would for an in person interview because this will help you get into character and behave more professionally.  Prepare your voice by talking or singing which will warm up your voice and help you to enunciate.  You can also loosen up your vocal cords by eating a spoon full of honey or hard candy (but be sure to be done with the hard candy before you answer the phone).
Place yourself in a quiet space to remove external distractions that could interrupt the interview.  Relax your nerves by having a stress relief ball or other tools to reduce your anxiety.  Have your script in front of you.  Keep the research you prepared earlier in the week in front of you to quickly reference.  Be covert with your research and spread the papers out in order to reduce the noise of paper shuffling.   Last, “show up” early and take the fifteen minutes to mentally prepare yourself by reviewing the information you researched days before and the job description.
During the Audition
Be in character and put your most professional self forward.  Smile while talking on the phone because you can hear a smile in someone’s voice.  Stand while interviewing to help keep you sounding enthusiastic and engaged.  Count to three in your head before answering questions to be sure the interviewer is done asking the question and to give you time to come up with an articulate answer.
Use a headset if possible to give you more freedom to look at your notes, make hand gestures as you would in normal conversation, and save yourself some neck pain from craning the phone between your shoulder and your ear.
Look at the photograph of your interviewer or someone who you look up to as a superior to keep yourself more engaged and to help the interview feel a little more personable.  Answer questions succinctly while in a phone interview.  Attention spans are shorter while on the phone and keeping your answers brief and to the point will keep your interviewer more engaged with you and your answers.
Take notes and pay close attention to what your interview says and asks.  You do not have the opportunity to see how the interviewer is responding non-verbally so paying careful attention to their words can help you respond accurately.
An audition has the advantage of physically showing how you are able to act, pantomime, and verse the part.  Bring this advantage into your phone interview with the use of a web portfolio.  Many employers will ask you to give an example of a project or sample code.  Instead of trying to paint a verbal picture, ask if they have access to the internet and direct them to your web-folio.  While they click through your portfolio, talk them through it and give an opportunity for questions.
After the Audition
At the end of the scene, inquire about the next steps in the interview process or timeline of the hiring process.  Thank them at the end of the call for their time and the opportunity to learn more about the position and company.  Send a thank you email or hand written note within two days of the interview.
Just as an actor won’t get a call back for every audition, your phone interview might not always lead to an in-person interview. But the more prepared you are the more likely you are to land your dream role.  Preparation, enthusiasm, ingenuity, and great follow-up can be exactly what you need to set yourself apart from the competition.  The phone interview is your first chance to wow your future employer and gets you one step closer to the job of your dreams; go break a leg!


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