Secrets To Acing The Phone Interview

phone interview tipsCompanies often use phone interviews to screen candidates before meeting in person. Seize your chance to impress the interviewer so he or she can't help but want to meet you in person. Consider the following do's and don'ts and you're sure to have winning phone interviews:

Don't miss the details. What time is the interview? Is the interviewer calling you, or is it up to you to place the call? Does everyone have the right phone numbers? Who will be interviewing you? (Make sure to get the correct spelling of their names and also their contact information so you can easily follow up with thank you notes.) When the interview is remote, it's very easy to muck up the key details, but if you are waiting for a call and the interviewer expected you to initiate the conversation, you've lost an opportunity. It's wise to send an email to confirm all the specifics so everyone is on the same page.

Don't take the call from a noisy place. There is nothing worse (for you and the interviewer) than trying to have a serious conversation when there is a lot of noise in the background. It does not matter if the noise is your daughter's soccer game or the cappuccino machine at the local coffee shop; it's up to you to find a quiet place to take the call. If you don't, the interviewer will question your judgment, and no employer wants to hire someone who doesn't make good decisions.

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Don't forget to tell your friends and family you're on a business call. Even if you are in your home office with the door closed, if your roommate or family members don't know you're on an important call, expect to be interrupted.

Don't schedule an interview when you have other responsibilities. Needless to say, it's not a good idea to schedule an interview while you're at work. Other bad times: when you're in charge of children, driving or expecting a service person or visitor. Make sure you can give the interviewer your complete attention, or you may regret it later.

Don't interrupt for a call that's waiting. Just as you would never answer your phone during an in-person interview, don't ever be tempted to ask the interviewer to wait a minute so you can pick up the call that's waiting. Not only is it rude, but it's possible you'll get disconnected. When you are in an interview, give the interviewer all your focus and attention.

Do write some notes and refer to them. Be ready for the interview. Take advantage of the fact that the interviewer can't see you and keep a few notes handy to help you remember to say all of your key points. Use bullet points, not complete paragraphs. (You don't want to read them word-for-word.)

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Do prepare as you would for an in-person meeting. Just because the meeting is over the phone doesn't mean the employer isn't serious about your candidacy. Return the favor and prepare and research as you would for an in-person interview. Learn all you can about the organization, their successes and their concerns. Be prepared to explain exactly why you are a good fit for the job.

Emote. In a phone interview, you need to be extra attentive about your tone and enthusiasm. If necessary, stand up when you're on the call. Smile and gesture as you would in person to help make sure you verbally project your interest in the job.

Use a phone that won't drop the call. You do not want to lose the interviewer in the midst of your conversation. Be sure to take the call on a reliable phone in a location that isn't typically problematic.

Listen carefully and take notes as long as it doesn't distract you. Just as it's OK to refer to your prepared notes during your interview, you can take advantage of the phone interview setup to write down things during the interview so you'll remember them later. It can be helpful to jot down a few things so you can write detailed thank you notes. Don't feel compelled to transcribe every word, but some well-placed notes may help you later. You'll be glad when you get the job.

A phone interview can be a great opportunity to shine, and without the pressure to shake hands well or dress in exactly the right thing, it can be a lot easier than an in-person meeting. Don't blow your opportunity to make the most of this chance.

Preparing for a Phone Interview‚Äč

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Other things to bear in mind? Make sure you sound enthusiastic, the sort of person they want on the team. Pace yourself, a good interviewer knows you may need a little time to compose a good response, so do take time to think about answers. Be aware that they may be pushing you to answer as part of their interview technique. Listen carefully and if you don't fully understand the question, ask for clarification. Don't allow yourself to become flustered, especially if some of the questions seem either irrelevant or overly-specific. And remember the interviewer may need some time to make notes between questions so don't worry unduly about short silences, be patient.

January 12 2014 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Who does phone interviews? Guess I've never been high enough on the totem poll for a job like that.

April 26 2013 at 3:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Blah blah blah UGH so glad I don't have to deal with this BULLSHIT anymore

April 26 2013 at 1:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Phone interviews are usually BS, not serious. Never got a single job offer from any of them. You are basically in a cattle call role and the person doing the interview could care less if you are hired or not.

April 25 2013 at 4:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When you write a column like this you should try to add value. There was nothing here that hasn't been in dozens of similar columns for the past 10 years.

April 25 2013 at 10:30 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Burt Ward

I have the best response to this article. Its a doozy. You'll love it. It really happened and I'm not embellishing a single thing. I work in the broadcast media trade in engineering. I was looking to better my position and had put out some resumes. I was on a road trip with a good friend while on the way to a weekend vacation. I can still remember exactly where I was when the call came in. It was a corporate recruiter who wanted to set up a phone interview for another time. I made sure I had the right day and time that they would call me back. I was upstairs in my bedroom as I thought I could be more relaxed. The call came in and it was a conference call with three people. The company was Harris, the huge communications equipment manufacturer. It started ok as they wanted to know who I was and what I could do. They got specific by stating that I could work in a choice of many states where they had operations. It started getting a bit confusing when they said, “We also may have you set up the live events such as pay per view events.” I thought, well, didn’t know Harris was into that but I would sure love to do it. Then they asked me about my criminal past. Well, thought it was a bit intrusive but I assured them I was clean. They asked if I wanted to train in Vegas and then work in Missouri, Illinois, Mississippi, Atlantic City, etc. I said it would be fine. Then they asked if I had any gambling problems. I replied, “Well, not sure why Harris is worried about that, but no, I didn’t gamble except on visits to NAB.” Then she asks, “Do you have any problems completing a gaming license for any state you work?” I then replied, “Well, not sure why you want that, but if you need it then sure, why not?” Then the lady said, “Well Mr. xxx, you can’t work for Harrah’s unless you have a gaming license.” I then said, “Oh, Harrahs, the casino chain.” She replied, who do you think we are? I replied, “Sorry, I thought you were Harris, the equipment company, but I would be fine doing video work for you.” The never called me back after that.

April 24 2013 at 10:09 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

These are great tips! I recently read this article on about interview tips and phone screening. It talked about it from the recruiter's perspective. Very interesting to say the least. Check it out.

April 24 2013 at 3:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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