“I know everything but I’m not able to speak about it confidently.”

“I was feeling very confident about my telephonic interview with the Associate, but just 30 minutes before the interview he mailed me that the MD will be interviewing me. The moment I heard that the pressure became too high; and it all went downhill after that.”

“Is there a way I can avoid talking about the salary? I don’t know how much they would be comfortable paying.”

Have you ever felt like this despite preparing sincerely for a job interview?

Usually the first round is a telephonic interview with someone who is at the middle level and once they like you they call you to their office for an in-person interview.

Your goal at the telephonic stage is:

  • To make them like you
  • To make them interested in you

Let’s find out how to achieve it.

Stage 1: Preparation & Practice

  1. Spotlight should be on them

    Bring about a complete mind-set shift. Imagine that a spotlight is falling on you. And now put the spotlight on them. SpotlightThe sooner you can move away from yourself and make it all about them, the faster you will be able to impress them. They’re not interested in you. What they’re interested in is how your skills can help them.

    Prepare answers to important questions keeping in mind “How will you add value to them? For example: “Tell us about yourself.”

As my resume mentions I have graduated from XXX and have been working with XXX for the last two years.

“In one of my biggest projects I worked on a large IT client. Having understood the ins and outs of how the IT industry works, I feel I can add value to your team that looks after the IT vertical in.” (get specific)

Similarly give 1 or 2 more big achievements which will be relevant to them.

And then, if you’re comfortable and aware; use some aspect of their company’s culture and link it to your hobbies or areas of interest. For example, “While I was doing my research on your organization I figured, that a lot of importance is given to cultural activities such as plays, dances etc on Fridays. As a dramsoc member of SRCC where I won several awards, it’ll be exciting for me to contribute to the culture of the organization.

This does multiple things

  • shows that you have done your homework
  • Shows that you are very interested
  • Highlights your achievements which are relevant to them

A word of caution here. Be authentic. If you’re not; subconsciously they’ll feel something is not matching up!

2. Bullet but don’t script:

Scripting is boring. Make a bullet of the main points and then speak in your flow naturally. You don’t want to come across as too rehearsed.

3. Practice your answers by recording your video.

Then analyse your video for the following:

  1. Self-Soothing: Self- soothing gestures are comforting gestures like neck stroking, lip pursing, hair stroking or fiddling with objects. Observe, your self-soothing behaviour because that’s an indication that at that point you’re probably uncomfortable.
  2. Blocking: For similar reasons as above, notice when you block your face, cross your arms or hold an object like a pillow to give yourself comfort.
  3. Speech Irritants: Such as umm..hmm..uh etc. If you’re using too much of it, chances are you’ll end up losing their interest.

Stage 2: Getting Ready

  1. Linkedin Profile Picture: They’ll definitely check your LinkedIn profile and your picture makes your first impression, even before you’ve met them. Make sure you are facing the camera with a smile and in professional attire.
  2. Mail Them: “I look forward to” plus a link to your LinkedIn profile – a day before or on the day of the interview so that they do check you out and start building a rapport with you subconsciously.
  3. Power Pose: Get expansive: When you feel confident, you are expansive. Similarly, when you are expansive you feel confident. Expand your body so that you feel confident.
  4. Pre-Bond with Them: Open their LinkedIn profile because when you see their picture, it releases the bonding hormone called Oxytocin which will help you bond with them during your call. And yes, goes without saying close all distractions like emails, chats etc.

Stage 3: During

  • Stand expansively and remember to look at their profile picture
  • Master your hello. Say it at the out-breath and with a smile.

  • During the conversation, remember that they are judging you for competence and trustworthiness. A very powerful way of showing that is by smiling regularly. It transmits through your voice.
  • Pause after key points. Avoid rushing through as that shows you’re in control of what you’re saying
  • A very common mistake that most of us make is using the questions inflection when talking about salary! Avoid the question inflection! “my expected is salary is INR __ per month.” And not “my expected salary is INR __ per month?
  • Ask for next steps “Thank you for your time today. May I ask what would be our next steps?”

Stage 4: After

  1. After the interview it is extremely important that you send a Thank you mail.
    1. If you’ve made an error anywhere clarify that for example “When I spoke with you about my work with my large IT client, I missed sharing one point with you. I also contributed…. which I feel is synergistic with…”
    2. Ask for any more questions if you have.
    3. Show that you are very keen to hear back from them.

Preparation is key here. The harder you prepare, the more confident you will be in the actual scenario. All the best!