How to Ace Your Phone Interview

Congratulations! You are scheduled for a phone interview with either a recruiter or a hiring manager. Now what? In some ways, phone interviews are harder than face-to-face interviews because you don’t get to see body language and facial expressions, and it can be harder to establish a connection. Here are a few tips and pointers that will help you be more successful and hopefully make it to the next stage of the job interview:

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PREPARATION:  Just like you would for a face-to-face interview, you need to be prepared. Do your homework, research the company as well as the person you are going to be speaking with, have your resume ready and in front of you, have questions prepared to ask, and be confident. Your previous work experience has already caused the recruiter to think you could be a possible fit for the job. Use this opportunity to really sell them on why.

TIME:  Ask in advance how long the interview will last, then select a time that works for your schedule. If you can talk at lunch but will need 15 minutes to get to a quiet place, then ask for that time. Taking a call and then huffing it to your car, losing connection in the elevator or talking while driving are distractions to both parties.  Don’t pick a time when your child comes home from school and will want your attention. Choose a time when you will be able to give your full attention to the interview.

LOCATION:  Your location is even more important!  Find someplace QUIET where there are no distractions. Turn the TV or radio off. Go to a quiet room or location. It is okay to take the call from your car, but not while you are driving. Do not take a call from a public location, food court, parking garage, etc. Find a quiet place where you can talk without interruption.

PROFESSIONAL PHONE ETIQUETTE:  It’s time for the call. Make sure your reception is good and the call won't drop. Do not answer the call like you are in the witness protection program. Answer the call professionally; for example, “Good morning, this is Natalie.” If you need a few minutes to move to a quiet location, ask the caller to please hold and use the MUTE function of your phone until you get to that quiet spot.

PRESENTING YOUR BEST SELF:  Once the interview begins, stay focused and to the point. Be enthusiastic, but calm. Keep a glass of water nearby and remind yourself to talk slowly, clearly, and be articulate. Be proud of what you've accomplished. Think about what you would want to know if you were the interviewer. Keep your resume handy in case you need to refer back to it. Make sure you find the opportunity to tell them why you think you are a good fit for the position. 

WINDING UP THE CALL:  It’s okay to ask what the next steps will be and when the company is hoping to make a decision. Thank the interviewer for their time and express your interest in the opportunity. Finally, always, always, always send a thank you email. This is a great chance to remind the interviewer again why you would be a perfect fit for this role.