Seven Phone Interview Tips to Help you Get the Job

Without the face-to-face interaction you get in a traditional interview, it can be difficult to shine during a phone interview. Because phone interviews help managers screen candidates before bringing them in for a face-to-face meeting, they are essential for many companies and won’t be going anywhere any time soon. It’s important to know how to carry yourself and make a strong first impression through the conversation. If you have a phone interview coming up, here are seven tips you should keep in mind.

Treat it as a traditional interview.

Just because you’re not face-to-face with a potential employer doesn’t mean it’s time to throw all your interview rules out the window. A telephone interview might sound like the perfect opportunity to kick back and relax, but in actuality, you have to work even harder to make yourself stand out. You may think you can get away with lounging on your couch and breezing through this interview, but believe it or not, your body language has its way of communicating itself over the phone. If you’ve set yourself up like it’s just another lazy Sunday, it’s going to be very difficult to sound engaged and professional. Don’t disregard your traditional interview rules, apply them, plus a little more to set yourself apart from the crowd.

Be prepared. 

One of the biggest benefits of doing a phone interview versus a traditional in-person interview is your interviewer won’t know if you’re checking your notes. Be sure to take the appropriate amount of time to research the company and position, and have the necessary documents in front of you during the phone call. To ensure you’re prepared, pull up the company website, your resume, the job posting and your application to reference during the call. As a back-up plan, print them out in case your internet goes down or starts running slow.

Find a quiet space.

When you’re on a phone interview, you control the environment around you — which means you need to find an area that is free from noise or distractions. It is best to do a phone interview while at home; find an area away from pets, kids and other household noises, such as the washing machine or television. Keep in mind that whatever background noise is going on around you, will most likely be heard over the phone. Remember, because the interviewer is only able to go off what they hear on the phone, they will be judging. So make sure there is nothing that will hurt your chance of making a good impression.

Set up your space.

Before you sit down for the interview ensure your space is organized with anything you may need. Try to find a comfortable desk or table and ensure you have a pen and paper for notes, as computer clacking can be noisy and distracting. On a phone interview you’re going to be talking a lot, so your mouth may get a little dry. The last thing you want is for the interviewer to hear you getting yourself a glass of water, so come prepared by grabbing one beforehand.

Keep smiling.

During a phone interview between you and your potential employer, it is very challenging to portray emotion or excitement. In a traditional interview, they can see your facial expressions so this can leave you at a disadvantage. Over the phone, it is your job to ensure they understand the feeling, passion, and energy behind your answers. Smiling, even if no one else sees, sets a vocal tone for that positivity and believe it or not, the interviewer will pick up on it.

Avoid interrupting.

Doing an interview over the phone can get awkward. You both may start talking at the same time, or you may not realize they weren’t done asking a question. While this is normal, you want to avoid making a habit out of it. If you have questions or need more clarification, wait until the interviewer is finished speaking to ask. If you do accidentally cut someone off, you should apologize, allow them to finish, remind yourself that accidents happen, and just keep it moving.

Think before you speak.

When you’re talking over the phone, you may feel more pressure to answer immediately. If you aren’t sure about your answer, take a few moments to think of what you would like to say. If you need a few moments, let the interviewer know that you’ve heard the question and understand it. A simple “great question” allows the interviewer to know you’re still on the line, but you’re taking a bit of time to craft a response.

The key to a successful phone interview is proper preparation. And if you follow these seven tips, you can be well on your way to acing the phone interview, landing an in-person interview, and getting the job!

Need some help prepping for your phone interview? Contact our expert coaches and get the pointers that might just be the turning point in your next job interview!

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