Interviewing is never easy– it takes time and can be stressful. The first stage of the hiring process is usually a phone interview. Phone interviews can be tricky, especially since you aren’t able to read your interviewers facial expressions and body language during the call. It’s also easy to underestimate the importance of a phone interview. Many people dismiss it as trivial parts of a long job search process…don’t! A phone interview is actually the most important step because without success, you’ll never get to the next step or land the job.
Follow these Tips for a Successful Phone Interview to help you succeed or improve your chances:
1. Stand up – Standing up while on the phone will help you feel less nervous and will allow you to project your voice better.
2. Look at your resume – Have a copy of your resume in front of you so you can see what the hiring authority is seeing.
3. Dress for success – Dress in business attire or what you would wear to an on-site interview. This will help you feel as if you are interviewing in person.
4. State your name – Answer the phone with your name to avoid an awkward start to the call. This lets the person on the other line know exactly who you are and saves them the time of asking for you.
5. Use a land line – Only use a cell phone if you are stationary and know you will have good reception. Do not risk being mobile and dropping the call.
6. Maintain focus – Make sure you are in a place that is quiet and free from distraction (i.e. emails popping up, barking dogs, screaming kids, etc.)
7. Remember to smile – Even though the interviewer can’t see you, he/she will perceive the energy and enthusiasm you bring to the call.
8. Actively listen – Watch the flow of the conversation. Be mindful of a balance between who is talking and who is listening.
9. Don’t interrupt – Be sure to avoid cutting the interviewer off. Try counting to three after they pause before you speak.
10. Be honest - If a major distraction occurs during a phone interview, mention it. The worst thing you can do is attempt to cover something up that takes you out of the moment–it could make you look like you’re not paying attention. An interviewer will most likely appreciate that you mention any issues. Remember: they are human too!
11. Don’t talk money – Compensation and concerns about money should be discussed later in the process. If a manager brings up the topic, keep your answer simple by telling the employer that you need a better understanding of the total compensation package before you can state your desired salary.
12. Have questions ready – Choose questions that show you’ve done your homework about the company, their product/service and their online presence.
13. If you want the job, say so – The goal of a phone interview is to get a face-to-face meeting; don’t be bashful about expressing your interest and requesting an in-person meeting.
14. Say “Thank you!” – Be sure to thank the interviewer for his/her time and again, let them know your level of interest. Then send a thank you note an hour or two after the phone interview.
We hope these tips help you succeed in your next phone interview and get you one step closer to winning the job!
And remember: “If it is to be, it is up to me!”