A telephone interview is the toughest of all types of interviews.

BE PREPARED is the most important advice I can give you when you are asked to do a telephone interview. You don’t have the advantage of seeing the other person. You can’t judge how your answers are received. You can’t obviously use your hands and body language to make your point.

Have your resume placed in front of you and next to the phone. Have any other document or notes on the table which you can refer to if needed.

Keep a pad and pen handy to take notes during your phone interview.

Have a glass of water by the phone and be ready five minutes early.

Be in a quiet place, turn off the television or music, get the dogs outside, and ask your family and children to be quiet and not disturb you during this important phone call.

Stand up and get your energy going, warm up your voice, and smile (it can almost be heard over the telephone).

Even you are not on camera, dress in a businesslike manner to put yourself in the proper frame of mind. Sit or stand with good posture. In fact, if you can, stand up when you talk as your voice will sound more powerful than if sitting (an old tele-sales trick). Although your interviewer cannot see you, these things affect the quality of the image you project through your voice.

Speak slowly and clearly, with moderate volume and plenty of enthusiasm, positive energy and inflection, keeping your mouth about an inch away from the mouthpiece.

Smile, smile and smile. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice.

Throughout the interview, use interesting, descriptive language and proper grammar – not slang (“yes” rather than “yeah”). Do not swear or us four-letter words under any circumstances, even if your interviewer does so. Avoid fillers such as “ums” and “errs”.

Let your interviewer know you are listening. Periodically use their name. Say “yes” or “I see”, repeat their words, ask follow-up questions.

During the interview, most of the same rules of in-person interviewing apply. Never say anything on the telephone you would not say in person. Don’t chitchat; stick to business, and don’t let your guard down.