At first glance, a telephone interview might appear easier and less nerve-racking than a face-to-face meeting. However, talking by phone eliminates the ability to make eye contact, assess body language and get a read on how an interviewer responds to what you say. This can make you anxious about how well you're selling yourself as an exceptional employment candidate.
Practice a telephone interview with a friend or family member. Time your responses, and have your friend give you feedback about whether you speak too quickly, are difficult to understand or sound nervous during the process. Having this information helps you tweak and polish your presentation until it's just right.
Be prepared for the interview. Research the company, send a resume and work samples in advance and jot down notes to have in front of you. While you don't want to sound rehearsed by reading directly from your notes, having them there will give you a good point of reference if you get anxious and need it.
Arrange to conduct your interview from a calm, quiet location where you won't be interrupted or distracted. Put your dog in the garage, put a note on your door asking that no one ring the doorbell, and choose a location that doesn't have ambient noise coming from the street or other houses if you are interviewing at home. Choose the most private and secluded area possible so you can focus on responding to questions and making a good impression if you're interviewing from somewhere else.
Do relaxation breathing exercises before the interview. Try to quiet your mind and calm your nerves by taking deep, measured breaths. Use your favorite calming techniques to get you prepared for your interview if you meditate, do yoga, or use aromatherapy.
Have a cup tea a few minutes before your phone meeting -- a flavor like chamomile can be soothing and relaxing. Avoid caffeine or other stimulants, like chocolate, if they make you nervous or jumpy.
Don't rush. Be prepared and ready to go 15 minutes early. If you're rushed, you might sound breathless, unsure of your responses or nervous. Give yourself a few minutes to relax before the conversation begins.
Be confident, yet honest. Don't struggle with anxiety during the interview -- be up-front rather than run the risk of the interviewer thinking you’re scattered. For example, say “Please excuse me if I sound a bit flustered, I’m very excited about the prospect of this job and my nerves are getting the best of me right now.”
- Make sure your phone has a full battery charge. Hearing a low-battery warning beep during the interview is sure to raise your anxiety levels.
- Dress in comfortable clothing to help you feel at ease.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.