At Duke, the initial interview for a position begins with a phone call from a member of the search committee. While not labeled as such, these calls often are the first interview. Thus when you initiate a job search it's critical that you are prepared for telephone interviews. Start by creating a voice mail message that's professional. Speak clearly and provide clear directions for leaving messages. Assemble a pad and pencil near each telephone in your home.
Also, remember to present yourself in a professional manner when answering the telephone. Although the person calling cannot see you, they are still judging you, by your speaking skills, politeness, tone, or background noise.
According to Career builders the following tips are useful when using the telephone in your job search.
1. Be aware of your surroundings
Traffic, a crying baby, loud music, or construction work can be a distraction. Turn off the television or radio. In case of traffic noise, offer to return the call when you can find a more quiet place.
2. Speak clearly
Avoid "uhs" or "ums". Be sure to cover the receiver when you sneeze or cough. Such sounds come across as unprofessional.
3. No Chewing or Eating
Both behaviors while using the telephone make you sound unprofessional and/or rude.
4. Have a Pen and Paper Ready
If the interviewer has information for you, be ready to take it down. Avoid having to say, "can you hold on a minute while I get a pen?"
5. Avoid Putting the Interviewer on Hold
If your other line clicks during a phone interview, ignore it. Hopefully the person calling will call you again later. Likewise, if your cell phone rings during a phone interview, turn it off. Better yet, turn your cell phone off when you start the conversation with the interviewer.
6. Ask for a Face to Face Meeting
Don't let the conversation end without a request for a fact to face meeting. You will be able to convey your passion for the job much more effectively when sitting across from someone.