Best Tips to Ace a Phone Interview
So you spent multiple hours poring through employment listings, researching new companies, and submitting resumés with the hopes of landing the perfect new position—and now, all of your hard work is paying off with potential employers contacting you to schedule phone interviews.
While this is an exciting time full of possibilities, it can also be understandably stressful. You know you can (and must) make a good first impression, but doubts can start creeping in—what if you stumble over your words, say the wrong things, or just come across as awkward and unprepared on the phone? After all, you’re probably out of practice considering text messaging and emails have pretty much relegated the phone conversation to a thing of the past. Before you decide to settle for just showing up and seeing how it goes, try using these tips to help you ace your phone interview instead.
Prepare in advance
The most important thing you can do to help ensure your phone interview goes smoothly and ends successfully is to prepare for the call in advance. Consider doing the following before dialing in:
- Take some time to really research the company, their corporate culture, and values. This will allow you to custom tailor your responses to interview questions in order to demonstrate that you would be a good match with shared ideals.
- Create a cheat sheet containing questions you would like to ask the hiring manager and answers to commonly asked questions which you can then refer to during your interview. It’s pretty safe to assume you’ll be asked about at least one, or more likely all of the following;
- Reasons for wanting to leave your current job
- Responsibilities required of your current position
- Salary requirements
- Reasons you want the position you’ve applied for and the relevant qualifications you possess
- Try having a practice run with the help of a friend and record the conversation. Listening back to your responses will allow you to pinpoint areas in which you could use some work. From refining your answers to be clearer and more concise, to remembering to drop the words “like” and “um” from your vocabulary, working out any potential kinks in your communication skills can make all the difference when it comes to successfully securing a second interview.
Choose a comfortable, distraction-free location
Choosing a comfortable, distraction-free location to have your phone interview can help you feel more relaxed, focused, and ready to respond to any difficult questions that may come your way. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should choose to sit in your bed while still wearing your pajamas.
Ideally, you should treat a phone interview with the same level of professionalism required of a face-to-face meeting. Try sitting in a chair at a clean desk or even your dining room table. This will provide you plenty of space for note-taking materials and any other documents you may need to refer to during the call. Remove any possible distractions from your line of sight, and make sure to silence or turn off any electronics that could possibly take your attention away from the conversation.
Look like you want to sound
Chances are good you’ve heard the old adage “dress for success,” but did you know it still applies even when you can’t be seen? It’s true, and it can dramatically change the way you sound when speaking to another person. When you look good, you’re more likely to feel good—that will ultimately lend a new level of confidence to your voice. Confidence is a quality closely associated with leaders, and it’s an attractive trait to a prospective employer. So, before you pick up the phone, consider putting on a polished, professional look.
Be a good listener
Being a good communicator is essential in business. That said, successful communication requires two distinct actions—a message must be sent, and that message must be received. Therefore, while being able to speak eloquently is a wonderful skill to possess, being a good listener is equally important.
Refraining from dominating the conversation and actively listening to the hiring manager will help establish a desirable flow to the conversation. Plus, you’re likely to pick up on information that could benefit you in the future—or, at the very least, info that will allow you to ask thoughtful follow-up questions during the interview. Showing you know how to pay attention will pay off in the end.
Send a thankyou email
Finally, you should always send out a thank-you note within 24 hours of your interview. Be sure to thank them for their time, reiterate your desire to continue the interview process, and consider including any questions you might have forgotten to ask during your phone call. This is a great way to showcase your professionalism while putting your name back to the front of their mind for consideration.