How Can I Survive A Phone Interview?
By Anne Fisher

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Dear Annie: Help! I've been through four telephone interviews in the past couple of months, and none has led to anything. Any suggestions? --Verizon Guy

Dear V.G.: Phone interviews are weird. Studies have shown that about 90% of human communication is nonverbal (body language, eye contact, and so on), so you're in a kind of limbo when the interviewer can't see you. However, there can be an upside too. Neil Lebovits, president of staffing firm Ajilon (, has coached many a candidate through this. His top two tips: Stand up, and use a crib sheet. He observes, "Many of us unconsciously adopt a 'phone posture' where we're slumped over and murmuring. Standing up changes your breathing and your tone of voice and makes you sound alert and confident." The other thing you can do telephonically that doesn't work too well in person: "Treat this as an open-book test. Have a pretty clear idea what the interviewer is looking for, and then write a script and have it in front of you while you're talking." It should include five bullet points on why hiring you would be of tremendous benefit to the company. The last place you want to be caught off-guard, Lebovits says, is on the old standby "What is your greatest weakness?" Have something written down for that too. "But for goodness' sake," says he, "don't really tell them." Well, he has a point: There's plenty of time for that after you're hired.

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