What Is Body Language for Your Telephone Interview?

What Is Body Language for Your Telephone Interview?

“Hey, wait a minute!” I hear you thinking. “A telephone interview is just that–an interview over the telephone. The interviewer can’t possibly see my body language.” Nevertheless, a good interviewer can hear your body language. If you don’t present yourself in a telephone interview exactly the way you would present yourself in person, your interviewer will hear your hesitation and instantly put your resume in the rejection pile. Read on for tips and tricks to improve your body language in your telephone interview.

Don't let yourself get distracted during your telephone job interview.

Don’t let yourself get distracted during your telephone job interview.

When you have a telephone interview scheduled, first select a time and location in which you won’t be distracted by work, family, or other competing interests for the entire duration of your interview. Even small disruptions can clue your interviewer that you’re not focusing 100% on your interview. The face-to-face equivalent is your revealing in your facial expression to your interviewer that your chair is uncomfortable, that you don’t like an odor in the air, or something else that steals your attention away from critical focus.

Another body language habit that you should avoid in a telephone interview is putting your hands to your face. In an in-person interview, such behavior can convey that you don’t quite believe your own words, which undermines your expertise and command of subject matter. On the phone, putting your hands to your face can muffle your voice or pull the receiver away from your mouth. Any additional interference to mobile and VOIP connections that are already dicey can prevent your interviewer from concentrating on your answers to the questions.

Although you would never stand during an interview that is held around a desk or conference table, you should consider standing while speaking during your telephone interview. Standing while you speak has a few advantages over sitting. First, standing with proper posture opens your chest, enabling you to speak comfortably for long periods. Second, and perhaps more importantly, standing while conversing on the phone might be uncommon for you, meaning you’ll focus more on the conversation and be at the top of your game more than you would have been sitting or slouching in your chair.

Last, and most importantly, pick something to focus your eyes on. During a face-to-face interview, you’d focus on the people around the table. This body language forces you to focus on the interview and keep your attention where it needs to be. During a phone interview, you don’t have a person to look at, so pick an object, something in the room that holds your attention without being so detailed that examining it takes you away from the topic, and use that as a focal point. Although you’re standing at this point, you won’t be able to pace and distract yourself. Instead, you’ll be listening carefully and ignoring competing visual cues.

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