You have a phone interview, now what?

Employers commonly use phone interviews as a preliminary way of narrowing down the pool of applicants they would like to interview face-to-face. While you are searching for your next job, it is important to stay prepared for a phone interview at a moment’s notice, because you never know when a recruiter or hiring manager may call and ask if you are available to talk.

If for some reason you are not ready when they call, stay calm and very politely explain this was unexpected and ask for a moment while you find a quiet spot, with the door shut and TV off, so you can focus.  At the bare minimum, be ready with  your resume, pen & paper in hand.

Keep these simple tips in mind when you are preparing for your next phone interview:

  •  Research the organization so you are well informed on their products/services, recent news articles, etc.
  • Jot down some questions to ask ahead of time.  This will help you appear more interested in the job and the organization.
  • If your phone interview has been scheduled using a Recruiter, be sure to learn as much as possible about the position and the company prior to the interview.
  • List your accomplishments, as well as your strengths and weaknesses, so you can rattle them off if asked.
  • Practice speaking slowly and clearly.  Use a voice recorder so you know what your voice sounds like.  It is critical that you do your best to eliminate filler words such as like, um, yeah, etc.
  • Dress professionally.  While you and the interviewer may not be able to see each other, studies show that dressing as if you are in a face-to-face interview, helps you speak with confidence and more professionally.
  • Gather a pen and note pad to take notes before the call.  Sit with your materials in front of your computer with the company’s website open next to your resume so you can easily answer any questions related to your work history such as:  reasons for leaving previous positions, explanations for gaps in your work history, things you enjoyed about your previous position(s).
  • It is very important to find a quiet place without any distractions from children, pets, the television, laundry, or other loud noises to interrupt your call.  The caller expects you to be ready, especially if this is a scheduled phone interview.
  • Never smoke, chew gum, eat or drink during the interview.
  • Even if you’re not exactly sure about the position at the end of the call, always let the interviewer know you are interested in pursuing this further and inquire as to what the next step will be.
  • Ask when they hope to have the position filled by.
  • Never ask about salary or benefits the company offers.  If you are asked about salary, tell the interviewer you are negotiable.  If you are pushed to give an answer relative to compensation, answer the question but reiterate that you are negotiable and would like to learn more about the position and the company regardless of compensation.
  • Remember to thank the interviewer for their time at the completion of the call, tell them that you are interested in pursuing the opportunity and let them know they are free to contact you for additional information.
  • When you have completed your interview, remember to send a thank you email right away.  It should be professional, written in a business format and have absolutely no spelling or grammatical errors.

Remember, the goal of your phone interview is to get a face-to-face interview.  If you’re invited for a face to face interview, you’ve won!  If not, perhaps you can get some feedback on what you did wrong during the phone call to better hone your skills for the next time.  This is easily done by asking your KRG Recruiter.

Also, it’s important to remember that the interviewer’s goal is to learn more about you and how you present yourself, and whether or not you have the skills and experience to do the job.  Preparation is Key!