(BPT) – The path to professional success often begins with a phone interview. In fact, 82 percent of HR managers and working professionals say that phone skills are key to both landing a job and maintaining a sustainable career, according to research from TracFone. For those looking to secure their first professional job, rejoin the workforce or climb the professional ladder, the importance of phone etiquette cannot be overstated.
To master the phone interview, follow these five tips:
* Speak clearly. Speaking in a clear, confident voice eliminates potential for miscommunication and provides a positive tone to the call. Be sure to sound upbeat and enthusiastic during the interview – you can even smile to help with this and use your voice to convey your excitement about the position.
* Stay connected with the right device. All of the interview preparation in the world won’t save you if your phone fails, so make sure you’re available with a secure line when the call comes through. Consider TracFone, which offers affordable, quality smartphones such as the Alcatel 460 – the perfect tool for accessing TracFone’s nationwide coverage on America’s largest and most dependable 4G LTE networks. Plus, with no activation or cancelation fees and unlimited carryover to keep any unused minutes, text and data, you can change your no-contract plan as often as your needs change without penalties, perfect for the on-the-go professional.
* Keep your resume on hand. Often, hiring managers will reference your resume during the phone interview process. Having a copy handy will help you answer those questions with confidence and ease. You can even make a list of “talking points” that provide more detail about your background to reference during the call.
* Ask questions. The interview is meant to be a conversation and two-way process, so it’s important to have a few questions of your own about the company and position for which you’re applying. This will show the interviewer that you don’t just want any job, but a long-term career at that company. It’s also a good opportunity to determine if the job and the company really are the right fit for you.
* Send a follow-up thank you note. The phone interview doesn’t end when you hang up. One of the most important steps to career success is the follow-up. Carefully record who you spoke with and send them a thank you note for taking the time to speak with you. If you have their email address already, use that, or research their contact information on sites like LinkedIn. Reiterate your interest in the position and emphasize why you are a perfect fit. It’s an important, lasting impression that may help you secure the job and, ultimately, career success.