When they say first impressions count, they really are right[4426] -- that is why in a phone interview where you hope to land the job or internship (which is obviously most cases) your greeting needs to be pretty much spot on. It has been said that employers and recruiters often make up their mind of whether they are likely going to employ you or not, within less than half minute. Hence, the phone interview opening is obviously crucial in playing a part as to whether you are successful in the interview or not. The following article will offer phone interview greeting tips, a preparation plan to help you prepare a great and professional opening to a phone interview, as well as a final demonstration of what a good successfully phone interview greeting may actually sound like.

First off, you should note that this is going to take some practice, and then some more practice, as you aren't going to get it perfect as soon as you start -- so make sure you have a phone recorder to hand, and get some friends to do an mock opening phone interview sequence mock with you, and see how you perform. Then with them analyse after each round -- how you can do better (get them to be brutally honest, they aren't there to hurt your feelings, they are there to help you)-- you will probably already notice yourself from the very first go -- what particular areas need to be worked on and increasingly iron certain flaws as you work on your phone interview greeting more and more. Mix up the opening a little too -- teaching you to adapt into a professional protocol -- no matter what the situation. Below is a general list of areas and pointers that you should watch out for, when hearing your phone interview greeting back.

  • Avoid greeting with 'Hello!' -- 'Good Morning, this is [..insert name..] speaking' or 'Good Afternoon, [..insert name..]. speaking' come across as far  more professional -- 'Hello', ' Hey', 'Hi'  again are ok but can appear a bit informal -- remember you are trying to give off a good first impression. Use 'Hello' if you have to but certainly avoid 'Yo' and other such slang lingo, otherwise you will end up fighting a losing battle right from the very start .
  • How's your Tone and Pitch? Do you sound tired, grumpy, annoyed, nervous, lazy? Get this sorted out with practice -- you need to give off the impression that you are excited yet professional -- that you are energetic and confident -- that you are ready for this interview and keen on the job or internship position in hand. If you come greet the phone interview and are sounding disinterested and bored -- an interviewer/recruiter may already have a big red cross by your name before you have even been asked a single question.
  • Did You Expect Their Call? Of course you did, so tell them. You should open up the phone interview with something along the lines of the first bullet point - 'hello, and your name' -- then they will reply with their introduction (their name, their company and department) -- and then you can let them know that you were expecting their call -- essentially confirmation of the appointment, and then continue to thank them for their time to conduct the phone interview for you. 
  • 'Use their Name' - the phone interviewer will often introduce themselves by their name and position. Make a quick note of their name, and use it not only to greet them -- but use it throughout the phone interview too. If you are provided with their surname -- be sure to use that instead. So if your interviewer was Phil Robinson, you would refer and address him as Mr. Robinson. It is also a good bit of information to know for your follow up thank you letter or email for the phone interview -- a fantastic way to really separate you from the crowd of other applicants. Keep their name noted.
  • 'Don't interrupt' - they will often first introduce the phone interview and the scenario, don't interrupt them, it can sometimes be difficult over a phone conversation, to know where you stand -- but if you are unsure just wait a few seconds to ensure they have finished speaking.
  • 'Listen' - be sure to listen to what the interviewer is actually 'saying' right  from the very start -- too many interview candidates get the wrong end of the stick from the interviewer and answer a question that was never really asked. If you are unsure of the question -- there is no harm in asking them to repeat it.

Successful Example of a Phone Interview Greeting

Candidate: "Good Morning, this is John Carter speaking"

Interviewer: "Hello, John. This is Phil Robinson from the financial department of X-company Ltd."

Candidate: "Hello, Mr. Robinson. Yes, I have been expecting your call. I just wanted to thank you for your time to speak with me today."

Bingo... and you are in! 

Quick Plan of Action

1. 'Good morning' or 'Good Evening', this is '[insert full name here].

2. Be energetic. 

3. Give them confirmation of the phone call. 

4. Thank you for their time.

If you are really wanting to improve your phone interview performance from all aspects, then I really urge you not to look any further than the following two books. Firstly 'The Essential Phone Interview Handbook' by  Paul Balio that shares with you almost everything you need to know when it comes to a phone interview (even a phone interview greeting -- chapter five 'Make an Impression') and secondly '101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions' by Ron Fry -- which really is a great comprehensive book to guide you in providing the best answers in response to the likely questions you are going to be asked in most interviews. Please be sure to let me know how your phone interview greeting went as well and if you have any general remarks then I encourage you to leave in the comments section below.