Many look at it as another hurdle to clear before a real interview can take place, but with the right outlook and preparation, the phone interview can be the first step leading to your dream job.
Most failures in phone interviews are a direct result of approaching it as merely another phone conversation. Just because you aren’t wearing your best suit or driving to the company’s offices, doesn’t make it any less important in the hiring process. You should prepare for a phone interview as diligently as you would prepare for a face to face interview.
Before the phone interview
Research the company, review the position and lookup the interviewer (not just name and title – background too). If using a cell phone, make sure that it is fully charged and you are in a location with excellent reception.
On a notepad:
- Write down examples from your experience that are relative to the position and be prepared to speak in detail about them
- Write down a few questions related to the company, position and interviewer
- Keep the pad and a pen near you when on the phone with the interviewer
When the call comes in:
- Answer professionally and be energetic throughout the conversation
- Stand up while talking
- Make sure the caller has your full attention – avoid all distractions
- Answer the questions asked, without straying from the topics or rambling
- Glance at the examples you wrote on the notepad to jog your memory during the interview
- If given the opportunity, ask a few questions
- Pay attention to your tone, inflection and cadence – the interviewer can’t see your body language, so you have to verbalize your interest through what you say and how you say it
When wrapping up the interview:
- Thank the interviewer for their time
- Verbalize your interest in the company and position
- Express your interest in meeting the interviewer and moving to the next step of the process
- Offer to answer any other additional questions they might have
Although you probably won’t get hired after just a phone interview, look at it as an opportunity to shine and gain a valuable ally within the organization. With a little preparation and by paying close attention to what you say and how you say it, you might actually learn to look at the phone interview as an advantage for you versus the competition for your ideal job.