Dogs barking in the background, candidates carrying on with their grocery shopping while slurping a coffee – recruiters have heard it all while conducting a phone interview. Phone interviews are used to screen candidates and narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for an in-person interview, and it’s a concern that job seekers take them so lightly. As the phone interview is your first impression with a potential employer, it shouldn’t be handled casually at all.
Utilize these tips before your next phone interview:
- Prepare just as much as you would for an in-person interview. Before your phone interview, research the company, review the job description, match your qualifications to the job description, rehearse your answers to typical interview questions, have a list of questions to ask after, etc. Use a phone interview to your advantage! You can write all of this down and have it in front of you. Although you may think you can recite your resume in your sleep, have that in front of you as well.
- Talk clearly and with enthusiasm because your voice is your only tool. Facial expressions, hand gestures, body movement, posture, and eye contact are all indications of how a conversation is going. Many feel that phone interviews are actually harder to nail because you can’t use body language to express yourself.
- Practice your short and clear responses ahead of time to avoid rambling. Nervous filler words like ‘um’ and ‘like’ are more noticeable on the phone because there isn’t anything else for the interviewer to focus on. Try your best to minimize!
- Be well-rested and alert. If you sound like you just rolled out of bed, you won’t be taken seriously.
- Find a quiet space with no distractions 10 minutes before your scheduled time. Sit in your parked car if you need to.
- Call a friend before the interview to make sure you have good cell service.
- Always have questions to ask at the end of the interview to show your interest in the role and the company. Keep a pen and paper in front of you in case something comes up during the conversation.
- End your conversation by thanking the interviewer and asking for the opportunity to meet in person. Ask for a timeline and what the next steps are in their hiring process.
- Just like an in-person interview, send a thank you letter thanking the hiring manager for their time. Reiterate again that you would like the opportunity to meet in person if this meeting hasn’t already been scheduled. If it has, tell them you look forward to the next interview.
Hiring managers and recruiters know the awkwardness that comes along with a phone interview so don’t dwell on making it perfect. Take it seriously, act professional, be prepared, and stay confident!