Phone interviews seem to be growing more common as search committees try to make the difficult decision of who to invite for a campus interview. When you pass this level you will pass to the interview, and to campus for in-person interviews, and ultimately offered the position! If you are not interviewed by phone, these same questions are likely to be asked on site.
Some helpful hints:
Introduce yourself clearly and directly. Engage in some “small talk” at the start of the interview, just as you would a face-to-face interview.
Speak clearly into the receiver and modulate your voice. Your voice is the only way you have of showing eagerness, enthusiasm and zest for the job. Your voice reveals both your personality and your attitude toward the caller. Don’t forget to smile! It makes a big difference in a conversation, even on the telephone.
Have your resume and the job advertisement with you for reference, and a pencil and some paper to make notes.
Some students find that it helps to dress for a telephone interview as you would for a face-to-face interview – it often helps to psychologically prepare you for this form of business “meeting”.
No matter how or where your interview is conducted, you should still have the same goal: to communicate to the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the position for which you are being interviewed. If the interview has been scheduled in advance, you should prepare as carefully as you would for a formal “sit down” in someone’s office.
Eliminate any distractions from your immediate environment (desk toys, newspaper clippings, your shopping list). Dress professionally and maintain good posture. The one bonus to a telephone interview is that you can prearrange notes to prompt you and to keep you on track, but only if you can refer to them unobtrusively. You do not want the person on the other end of the line to hear you shuffling papers in the background!