How to Ace a Phone Interview


Performing well on a phone interview can help you land the job you want. Nearly all companies use phone interviews to screen large pools of qualified candidates. Some phone screens are short of confirming details about the position, availability, and salary requirements. More and more, phone interviews are in-depth and can last up to an hour. Here are some tips to make a good impression throughout the whole process.

Before the Phone Interview:  

  • Keep a contact log. If you are sending out multiple applications, keep a contact log so you can keep them straight. You will be better prepared for impromptu phone interviews or any return calls if you know about which company and position they're calling.

   

  • Do your research. A phone interview requires just as much preparation as the face-to-face version. Learn all you can about the company, position, and people with whom you are going to interview.

   

  • Prepare talking points and questions. Write down talking points and follow-up questions you may want to ask of them. It will help you sound prepared and make it easier to remember everything you need to address.

   

  • Warm-up your voice. Your voice matters, even more, when your body language and facial expressions are not visible. Hum or read to yourself for a few minutes to get it into condition. A cup of warm tea or coffee can help, as well.

   

  • Clear away distractions. Let other calls go to voicemail. Ask your kids not to interrupt you. Give the call your full attention. Have your finger near "mute" in case the dog barks.

  During the Phone Interview:  

  • Be friendly and enthusiastic. Make a strong first impression. Smile and hold your head up. Focus on the positive aspects of the position and how your background translates well to their position.

 

  • Record everyone's name. If you are interviewing with more than one person, write down everyone's name at the outset. It will come in handy if you meet them for an in-person interview and send thank you emails.

 
  • Adapt to the interviewer's approach. Be yourself but be sensitive to the style of your interviewer. Adjust to their level of formality and the degree of detail they are seeking. Some employers may just ask a few preliminary questions, while others will go into great depth.
 
  • Deliver your elevator pitch. Have a summary statement prepared about why you think you are the right candidate. Read more about the perfect elevator pitch.

 
  • Avoid interrupting. It can be difficult to judge when someone is done speaking when you cannot see them. Pause for a second before replying to avoid any awkward interruptions.

 
  • Request feedback. If you sense any weak areas during the phone interview, try to revisit them. Ask the interviewer to clarify their needs so you can offer more information to strengthen your case.

 
  • Ask questions that show you are a good fit for the position. Ask questions that demonstrate that you have done your research. It will show that you are really interested in the job and give you another chance to discuss why you would be an asset.

 
  • Clarify the next steps. Ask about their hiring process. They may want to immediately schedule an in-person interview or let you know when they will decide on the remaining finalists.

 After the Phone Interview: 
  • Send a thank-you email. It is good etiquette and yet another chance to show you would make a good employee.

 
  • Make follow up plans. Hiring decisions often take longer than expected. Follow up as needed with tactful persistence.

 Phone interviews now play an essential role in the hiring process. Learning the techniques to ace a phone interview will give you a significant advantage in your job search.  


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