How to Prepare for a Phone Interview
Phone interviews are really important these days so don’t underestimate them.
More and more employers, particularly the larger ones, are using telephone interviews as an initial screen for job candidates. It’s a way for them to talk to a lot of people and then decide in less time than a personal interview who qualifies for the next stage.
So take the phone interview as seriously as you would a personal interview. Prepare for it!
10 Tips for Phone Interviews:
- Avoid using a cell phone – unless you are absolutely sure of strong reception. It can be pretty irritating if your connection is lost or you keep cutting out.
- Make sure the room is quiet so you can fully concentrate and you won’t be interrupted. This is an important interview and you want to make sure you are fully present.
- Never multi-task during a phone interview, including walking somewhere. Background noise will be heard; it’s distracting and unprofessional.
- Stand during the interview – but don’t walk around the house or down the street (see above about background noise). Standing, rather than sitting in your chair, can actually make you sound more alert and interested.
- Dress for your phone interview. No joke – if you’re in a robe, slippers or sweats, you’ll come across less professionally. Don’t ask me exactly how that works, but it’s true. I’m sure you’ve noticed how different a person’s voice sounds when he/she is talking while lying down on a couch. You don’t sound quite “with it.” So dress up, sit up and focus on the conversation.
- Smile while you’re talking. This will make your voice more positive and you’ll come across as more personable. I’m not suggesting a huge grin, but having a pleasant look on your face actually changes the inflection in your voice.
- Listen carefully to each question and don’t talk too much. The recruiter or employer doesn’t have a lot of time so don’t dominate the conversation. Listen carefully to the question asked, answer it, and be careful not to elaborate too much. And don’t go off on an issue that was not asked. Many people make this mistake because they’re nervous. Let the recruiter/employer direct the conversation.
- Have inflection in your voice – avoid the monotone. A voice with some inflection conveys an interest in the job and shows the kind of employee you’d be.
- Research the company so you have good questions to ask – just as you would for your personal interview.
- Write down 3-4 key points you want to remember about your qualifications. If you’re concerned about forgetting something important, this will help your confidence and will make the interview go more smoothly.
At the end of the interview it is perfectly okay to ask about next steps. For example, “I appreciate your time this morning and am very interested in the position. Can you tell me more about next steps?”
And remember: the phone interview is way more important than many people realize. Take time to prepare for it – this call is an important gate to your employment.