Make a Good Impression With a Client
A phone interview shouldn’t be confused with a casual phone conversation. You’ve been chatting with friends and family on the phone all your life. The usual easy informality of the telephone call can leave you psychologically unprepared for a telephone interview.
Don't be lulled into a false sense of security by the familiarity of the phone. Telephone interviews have the same consequences and rewards as face-to-face interviews. The key to success in both is thorough preparation. Florida State University provides job interview techniques.
Before selling yourself and your services to a client, first prepare yourself:
1. Research the company and the job thoroughly. Make notes. Be prepared to convey your knowledge during the interview through questions and responses that show your preparation, interest and concern.
2. Be ready for the most common interview questions, such as “Tell me about yourself,” with five strengths you have that are pertinent to this job (experiences, traits, skills). Write out your strengths and abilities, and match them on paper with the client’s needs. Think about what you want the client to remember and consider about you and your abilities after the interview.
3. Script the information you want to convey.
4. Practice your script. You should feel confident about what you want to emphasize on the phone. Be flexible, be responsive. The object is not to memorize the material but to have it ready at hand when talking with the client. Sound natural and conversational as you practice. The more you talk about yourself and your product, the more successful you’ll be at selling both.
5. Have a good telephone. If using a cellphone, call from a place with good connectivity. You don’t want bad equipment defeating your efforts.
3. Have a cheat sheet of points you want to make, questions to ask, materials supporting the information in your resume and a portfolio of your projects
4. Have plenty of rest, eat a good meal, shower and dress well, as if for a face-to-face interview. It will help you psychologically to focus on the seriousness of the meeting.
5. Be comfortably seated, at a desk or table with your notes and writing material in front of you.
When you call follow proper phone etiquette:
1. Take a deep breath before you dial.
2. Focus on speaking slowly, pausing as needed to gather your thoughts. Enunciate clearly and convey confidence in yourself and your abilities.
3. Listen carefully and think before responding.
4. Project your energy, enthusiasm, respectfulness and professionalism as you speak.
5. Be genuine. If anyone believes in you and what you do, it’s you. Speak purposefully and with confidence, keeping the client’s objectives in mind.
6. Don’t interrupt. Interruptions seem ruder on the phone than they do in person. Repeated interruptions leave the interviewer with the impression that you don't value or believe what they're saying.
7. Tell the truth. Don't embellish. Let the interviewer decide if you and your service are what they need. Telling the truth is essential if you want to create a bond of trust with potential clients.
8. If rejected, or sense that you’re going to be rejected, be polite, be diplomatic. You did your best and there’s always tomorrow. You can prepare for your next interview opportunity by ensuring that you have an outstanding cover letter for freelancers.
Linda K is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.