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11. How to face a Telephone interview for consulting job ? What should you be prepared with?

Most of the job interviews are over telephone in Consulting with few exceptions especially these days for variety of reasons and one of big one is the bad image that was created … Anyways, if you have never faced a telephone interview it could be nervous and it can be tricky. You might forget some basics. The following post will explain some basic things you need to do and you should be prepared with in facing a telephone interview. This post is part of the series Everything you need to know about How to get a Job & face interviews in US


Very basics overlooked by many:

First and foremost important thing is you have to have a GOOD phone. Many do not realize the importance. Get a good cell phone with speaker capability. It helps you to focus on stuff instead of holding it. You can also use headset if you like, it is as good as speaker phone. In fact,I have changed my phone when I started interviews because of bad phone. Obviously, make sure you have good reception and charge, etc.


What should you have with you ?

Have hard copies of your resume. Many think, I have computer why do I need it…Just imagine, if your computer crashes or hangs when you are in call, you are screwed !As I said in previous post, have hard copies of the Business scenarios, if you have created any, to be able to refer and answer.You need to have a computer with you with internet connection.Also, if you are in SAP world, you might need copy of the frequent Transaction codes. Keep hard copies of everything you have related to your project or resume.


How to arrange your stuff :

Might sound too much, but guess what, you might need it based on your experience level and how confident you are…if you have too much stuff and less experienced, you better arrange them. You can do it by having book mark labels, just like you did for visa interview. Labeling or arrangement can be based on project or topic related to requirement.


How to talk on Phone :

Most of the internationals and especially people from subcontinent talk very fast. Americans cannot understand your English if you talk fast. I know, we all are excited and tell our stuff if we know the answers, but calm down !Talk slowly…slowly….but not with low voice.Usually, the people who call you will be using speaker phone most of the times. So, you have to talk loud, but slow!


How to greet , address and end conversation ?

As soon you pick up the phone, greet and say Good morning and try to say their name. like,“Hi John or Hi Rachel, How are you all doing ?”. Never call anyone by ‘Sir’. We are used to addressing elders or professionals with ‘Sir’ a lotin India and other countries, but here it is not considered professional. Address them by their first name or you can use Mr or Ms and use their last name.If you havea long name, you can say them, you can call me by… say the name that is something shorter.Once the interview is done, you have to greet them and say “Thank you for the call” and say if you like the call and you think was successful “I am excited about the opportunity and looking forward for your feedback “. You can end by saying “Have a good day “or“Have a nice weekend! “ .Etiquette is very important here. Saying‘Hi’ and ‘Thank you’ is expected. If you do speak something wrong, say ‘I apologize’ or say ‘I am Sorry’.

What to talk in between?

Once done greeting, instead of jumping to topic right away, just ask them instead something like, “How is weather like there ?”Weather is something everyone care about or complain about here …like with snow, rain, wind, sunny and hot…etc. You can add your conversation too. You can ask about something that was significant with the company, like “You company stock is doing great, how are you all able to do that in this tough economy ?”. Try to be casual, you do not need to be afraid of them. The culture here is very casual, you do not need to show your elderly devotedness as you show in India. If the interview was on Monday You can ask like, did you all watch football ?and you better know the team in that area and better the team won it J. Try to talk only positive things. If you think you cannot talk casual, do not try to screw up by saying something wrong !


Final important thing :

We all think, when the client calls, I will read this from the paper and it is on my computer too, I do not need to learn it…But, the reality is, the questions are asked so randomly and quickly and you do not always have time to think or look up. So, you better know your stuff and be confident. Never panic. DO NOT Stutter.TALK SLOW !



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    • Well, if you plan to work in America, you better understand the American Accent. One way to do that is to watch American channels or movies by turning on subtitiles, to get a feel for the language. Once you are comfortable understanding that, then you should not have any problem with the phone conversations. That same logic applies to any other language or country. first learn to understand their accent be it UK or Australia, it is the same and that will help you with phone interviews.

  1. Hi, I got a couple of years break in my career and now I am not confident of interviews.
    whenever I face telephonic interviews, I fear a lot and can not speak properly. As I am faking up some of my experience, I feel guilty of myself when talking about something that I have not done .
    Sometimes I get stumbled up on at the first question ‘Tell me about yourself’ . Please advice me how to get on this fear.

    • Sri,
      Write a document about yourself. Then practice it standing in front of mirror. As this is one of the most common question, you can expect it to be among the 1st few questions of any interview. As you practice, you will gain confidence. Ask your friends to take mock interviews. As the interview is over telephone, you can keep a cheat sheet that has key points you want to include in such a question and then refer to it in case you forget or stumble.

      Good luck!


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