The phone interview is a popular recruiting method. Many companies start the job interview process with a telephone interview to speak with candidates who looks good on paper. It’s usually a brief 10 to 15-minute call for hiring managers to learn more about you to determine if they want to bring you in for an in-person interview.
As a candidate, your job is to get yourself to the next round of interviews. Even though a telephone interview sounds easy enough, don’t take it lightly. Treat it like an in-person interview, do your homework and be prepared to answer any type of question about your skills, experience, career path, and desire to win the job.
Below we cover phone interview tips that will help you make a great impression and secure an in-person interview.
find a quiet space
A barking dog, loud coworker, street noise or even the television are all things an interviewer does NOT want to hear when they call you for a phone interview. Background noise can seriously interrupt your interview. Even if the interviewer cannot hear it, you could get distracted, lose your train of thought and have difficulty focusing.
Find a quiet space at home or work where you are away from common distractions such as kids, pets, TV, and colleagues. It’s also important to close all social media applications and remove anything else that could create a distraction.
check your signal
Most people use mobile phones today. The trouble with this is connection problems are a possibility. Make sure you check your phone signal ahead of time. If you have a good connection, stay in the same spot for the duration of the call. Even better – use a landline if possible. Also – turn off phone and social media notifications so you don’t get interrupted during the call.
treat it like an in-person interview
A phone interview is just as important as an in-person interview, so treat it as such. Avoid taking it too lightly or taking a more relaxed approach. Put in just as much time researching the company, reviewing the job role and figuring out how you are a great candidate for the job. If you want the job, you first have to win them over on the phone.
ditch the PJs
Even though you may be at home and want to be comfortable, it’s important to be in the right frame of mind. So, ditch the PJs and choose an outfit that helps you feel confident. Remember, even though you are on the phone, it’s still a job interview. Prepare for the call as if you were doing an in-person interview.
answer the phone yourself
Always answer the phone yourself. Don’t let your kids, partner or someone else in your household answer the phone for you. You know when the call is scheduled. Be ready and available to take the call.
know who you’re talking to
When you receive the request for a phone interview, make sure you find out who you’ll be speaking with on the call. It’s important to know this information so you can research the person and understand their role in the company and hiring process. There is a possibility you may be speaking with multiple people. This could change your approach to the call.
speak slowly and clearly
All types of job interviews can be nerve wracking. Your heart rate will increase, you may get nervous, and you may rush your words. Remember to speak slowly and clearly. Keep your phone close to your mouth, and avoid putting it on speaker. The phone can make it more difficult to hear. Do your best to communicate as effectively as possible.
have your resume and the job description nearby
One of the advantages of phone interviews is you can have your resume, the job description and other materials in front of you to reference. If you need to, make a cheat sheet for the call. List the important points you want to communicate. Have answers written out for commonly asked questions. Use the resources available to you to get the most out of the call.
have a notebook nearby
Keeping a notebook or pad of paper and a pen handy allows you to jot down notes during the interview. You never know what the interviewer may say that you want to remember. Perhaps the interviewer mentioned important information about the job, made an important point about the company, offered you some advice or insights. Be ready to write it down.
show off your personality
Don’t be afraid to show off your personality. A phone interview gives you the opportunity to make what you stated on your resume come to life. Be warm, engaging and personable and help the interviewer understand more about you through your personality.
Just like an in-person interview, be ready to ask questions about the job. You don’t have to go too crazy here. Come up with 2-3 questions you have about the job description, role, or company. This will show you are interested in the job and keen to be chosen for an in-person interview.
inquire about next steps
This is important. No one wants to be left in the dark about when they can expect to hear back from a company about a job. Ask about next steps at the end of the call. Depending on the company, the next step could be another phone interview or a series of in-person interviews. It’s good to know what to expect next so you can plan accordingly. It will also show the interviewer you are interested in taking the next step in the hiring process.
follow up with a thank you email
After the call, send a quick follow-up email to thank the interviewer for their time and restate your interest in the role. Keep it short and to the point. This will help keep you top of mind when the company is choosing candidates to continue interviewing.
Have a phone interview coming up? Don’t take it lightly. Treat it like an in-person interview, and you will be well positioned to get a call back for the next round of interviews.