Phone Interview Tips
Many jobseekers find phone interviews to be one of the most frustrating parts of the process. You can’t see how the other person is reacting to what you are saying and it may feel like you don’t have enough information to execute an interview strategy properly. Though phone interviews tend to be brief, they present a variety of challenges, unlike face-to-face, Skype, or even panel interviews.
In a phone interview, you can’t rely on visual cues or non-verbal communication. You can’t use eye contact to show accountability or a smile to show friendliness when you are speaking on the phone. That’s why the quality of your voice becomes so important. Enunciate what you are saying slowly and clearly. You may also want to stand during the interview to better project your voice. Make sure you smile when you are talking on the phone; by doing so, you’ll actually speak in a brighter, friendlier tone.
Be sure to you keep a copy of your resume, application, references, and materials on the target opportunity handy so you can quickly reference them. The company’s mission statement or the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile may be helpful information to reference during the call, as well.
Since most phone interviews are shorter than face-to-face meetings, you’ll need to demonstrate your value quickly. Practice shorter, more succinct responses to interview questions. A story that might unfold in two or three minutes during an in-person interview may need to be conveyed in a minute on the phone.
The right environment can severely impact your ability to build rapport on an interview. Choose a quiet room where you can avoid distractions from kids or pets. Make sure you have a strong signal on a mobile phone, though a landline is preferable. If you can turn off call waiting on your phone, do so before the interview to prevent interruptions. Also, make sure you are familiar with the mute button on your phone in case you need to sneeze, cough, or take a sip of water discreetly.
When you have a chance to ask questions during the interview, avoid the selfish questions. Don’t ask about vacation or compensation. It’s too early for that. Use the interview to show that you’ve researched the opportunity and company, while quickly demonstrating how the company needs to bring you in for an in-person interview. Remember, that a phone interview isn’t about winning the job offer. It’s a tool to help you make it to the next stage of the hiring process.
After the interview is over, take a couple of notes regarding what you discussed. This will be valuable information if you advance in the hiring process. Lastly, be sure to send a thank you note if possible to reinforce your interest in the role.