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Some say an initial telephone interview is ideal for both the interviewer and the interviewee. The reasons are many, especially if the job opening has resulted in an overflow of resume submissions or if a potential candidate lives out of the area. Job candidates appreciate them because it allows them to deal with those awkward first sentences that always come with meeting someone who potentially holds the future, or at least the immediate future, of your career in his hands, says A. Harrison Barnes, career coach and founder. Still, just because the pressure’s off with an interview over the phone, that doesn’t mean you can let your guard completely down. There are some important things to keep in mind to ensure the phone interview leads to a face to face meeting. A. Harrison Barnes has put together a few of the best tips that are sure to keep the conversation flowing:

Choose your area and surroundings carefully. You might think Buffy’s cute little bark will make anyone fall in love with your canine, but there’s nothing more infuriating than trying to hold a conversation of a yelping dog. Put Buffy in her kennel outdoors or move into a room where you’re safe from her unpredictable barking.

Ensure the phone is good to go. If you’re using a landline, be sure there’s no static and if you’re using a cordless or your cell, be sure it’s charged or at least plugged into the charger.

Have a few pens and a notepad with you to take notes.

Smile! The interviewer will know it by your speech patterns, says the founder.

Before your interview, set up a “fake” phone interview with a friend or family member. You want them to point out any dialect that might be confusing or difficult to understand. For instance, if you’re interviewing with a company in the Midwest, but grew up in the South, odds are, your accent might be difficult to comprehend over the phone. Practice steady speech patterns and breathing techniques as you speak.

Have your resume in front of you and make notes in the margin or on your notepad that you really want to emphasize. Highlight those areas where you saved your last employer money and any projects you oversaw. While the interviewer has your resume in front of her as you’re talking, remember the conversation is to discuss that resume, your skills and abilities to do the job you’re interviewing for.

Don’t interrupt your interviewer! You’re nervous – they get that and it’s fine, but allowing your nervousness to plow over what’s being said is a deal breaker.

If the interviewer says something in the course of the conversation, instead of interrupting her, jot it down on your notepad so that you remember it a minute from now.

One of the most important things to remember, says Barnes, is to cross off any questions you had prepared to ask if the interviewer already answers them in the course of the conversation. There’s nothing more embarrassing for you and frustrating for the interviewer than to go over information that was already discussed.

Remember to thank the interviewer for her time and be sure to follow up with a thank you note.

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