Chances are, you’ll be asked to participate in a phone interview at some point in your job search process. When the time comes, take it just as seriously as you would a face-to-face meeting with a prospective employer. Companies utilize phone interviews to screen candidates in whom they’re very interested … yet not quite committed to signing on for a personal appointment.
Phone interviews can be tricky since you can’t actually see the person or persons on the other end of the line – or read non-verbal cues like facial expressions or body language. In some ways, you can best prepare for them the same way as a personal interview, though there are some guidelines unique to the telephone experience.
Keep these 10 tips in mind:
- Have your resume in front of you. You will almost certainly be asked about information on it. Also have on hand any other relevant supporting materials, such as your work portfolio. This is a phone interview advantage, since they can’t see you, either.
- Make a cheat sheet. Again, this is the phone, not Skype or face time. Jot down notes regarding critical points that you want to make during the interview. Touch on them, even if the only chance you have is at the end of the call when you’re asked if you have anything to add.
- Use a high-quality phone. Don’t take a chance on a cheap cell phone that may make it difficult to hear one another. If necessary, use a land line. Turn off call-waiting so you’re not interrupted.
- Shower, groom and dress up – at least a little. This puts you in the right frame of mind. You simply won’t feel as confident wearing pajamas and sporting bed head.
- Sit up straight and set up a “work station.” Or, stand up. You’ll feel more professional and knowledgeable. While you’re at it, eliminate any potential interruptions. Close the door, turn off the TV and stereo, and evict children and pets.
- Research the company. This will demonstrate that you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested in the position. Make your initiative known right from the start.
- Study the job description. Then you can better understand what your interviewers are seeking. Pinpoint key required traits and be ready to show how you’ve demonstrated them in your past experience.
- Have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview with you. Tape it so you can see how you sound over the phone. Use a list of anticipated questions so you can rehearse your answers.
- Compile a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Prepare to display your strong points with clear, measurable examples of successes achieved. Be honest about your weaknesses, but don’t mention skills essential to the job. For instance, if you’re interviewing for a graphic artist position, cite your weakness as “finance.” Everyone has their liabilities – and besides, it’s not a job requirement.
- Take notes. Record key questions you were asked, along with your responses. When you get the good news that you’ve been selected for a personal interview, you’ll use this as reference. And if you don’t get a call back, you can revisit it and find out what went wrong.
Never underestimate the power of – or the need to prepare for – a phone interview. For additional resources to help you prepare for your job interviews please refer to our Candidate Resource Center. If you would like to speak with a recruiter, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (315) 457-2500.