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Phone-Woman4If you got the phone interview, you are just a few minutes away from getting the face-to-face interview--IF you handle those few minutes well.  Think about your phone interview in a fresh way and stand out from everyone else they talk to and get your face-to-face interview!

No matter what job you do--technical, administrative, education, operations, manufacturing, data-based, marketing, or sales--the process of getting the job is basically a sales process.  You are the 'product' that's for sale, or hire; the hiring manager, or interviewer, is the 'customer'.  In this analogy,  you are also the sales rep, because you are convincing that hiring manager, or employer, to buy your product (hire you for the job).

If your job search is like a sales process, interviews are like sales calls.  If you look at what successful sales reps do to sell their products, and apply at least some of those principles to your job search and interviews, you will be successful in 'selling' yourself for the job.

Here is a great article to help you from Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter.  Mark gives you outstanding phone sales tips to use when contacting customers that work very well for also speaking with hiring managers (or Human Resources) in your phone interviews.

I have posted the article in its entirety, but I have italicized the tips that will be most useful and effective for you:

Phone Sales Tips:
Phone Sales Tips When Contacting Customers


  • Never ask if it’s a good time to talk. This gives the other person a perfect excuse to end the call. If you are unsure if the person has time to talk, then state up front that the phone call will only take 3 minutes. When you give the person an exact time be sure you time the call. After the allotted time, tell the customer you’re at the end and ask them if they would like to continue or reschedule. Using this practice allows you to demonstrate how much you respect their time.

  • Ask questions. People will never hang up on themselves.

  • Use the person’s name at least 3 times in every phone call. Who doesn’t like to hear their name said?

  • When greeting people on the telephone, avoid using their last name. It makes the call seem too formal. Your objective should be to have a casual conversation, in the same way you would talk to a good friend.   (In a phone interview, don't use their first name unless you are invited to--then, by all means, use it.--Peggy)

  • Use visually descriptive words to help paint a picture of what you’re saying. A phone conversation doesn’t have to be boring and stale.

  • When starting a new telephone conversation, always give your first and last name. Never assume the person you’re talking to is going to recognize your voice or think you’re the only one with your first name.

  • Watch your facial expressions by placing a mirror in front of you when you talk. It’s amazing how they come through over the phone.

  • Add energy to your phone calls by standing up. Nobody likes talking to a “blah” person. People who have good posture tend to come across more enthusiastic than those who don’t.

  • When you end a conversation, always summarize it in the same way you would end a live meeting. By doing so, you can prevent misinterpretation of your discussion.

  • Always allow the other person to have the final comment or question. Just because you’ve asked all your questions doesn’t mean the other person has asked all of his.

  • Avoid negotiating over the phone, use it as a means to introduce information and to follow up or confirm information. It’s impossible to truly read body language over the phone and thus you lose a major negotiating tool. A phone call however can be an excellent way to introduce a new idea you would like to receive some feedback on. Many times it will allow feedback to be gained in a less threatening manner than if it were to occur in a traditional sales call.

  • Never use a speaker phone with a customer even if they say it is fine with them. Speaker phones add to the perception the conversation is not important enough to capture 100% of the person’s attention. (Only exception of course is if there is a group involved.)

Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter",, © 2007

*** Check out another great post - 5 Phone Interview Questions You Will Be Asked.