Many companies use a phone interview to screen potential candidates before taking the time to interview them in-person. Speaking on the phone with a hiring manager about a possible job opportunity brings about different challenges and advantages than when you’re sitting in front of an interviewer at their headquarters. Here are six phone interview-specific tips to ensure that you make it to the second round and get closer to securing that new job.
Prepare notes for your phone interview
Due to the nature of a phone interview, you can have helpful materials within reach without the knowledge of the interviewer. Take advantage of this perk and create a “cheat sheet” that contains questions, comments, and answers to regularly asked questions. Keep your résumé, cover letter and the job description handy on your computer or have it printed out and available for reference. Have the company’s webpage pulled up in case you need to glance at it for clarification. Avoid reading word-for-word from your notes though as it will sound too much like a script and will come off rehearsed.
Dress the part
The appropriate clothing will put you in the right frame of mind. You don’t have to wear a suit but at least get up and change out of your pajamas and brush your teeth. Your demeanor will change which can project over the phone through your voice.
Find a good location
Look for a quiet place with adequate cell phone reception where you can focus on the conversation with limited distractions. Let your dog play in the backyard, have your significant other entertain the kids, and turn off all devices.
Make a first impression
A handshake is replaced with a salutation so make your first words a confident start to your interview. When answering the phone, “Hello, this is John Smith,” is a friendly way to let the interviewer know that they’ve called the right person.
Stand up and smile
The interviewer can’t read your body language so they will be more focused on your voice and will easily be able to pick up on your tone. Although it may seem silly, smiling will project a positive image and standing will give your voice more enthusiasm and energy.
Follow-up with a thank you email
Follow the same interview etiquette as you would after an in-person interview. Mailing a thank you note or sending a follow-up email shows the recruiter or HR manager that you are seriously interested in the position.
A phone interview requires the same, if not more, preparation as a face-to-face interview. Keep these tips in mind to have a favorable first conversation that will hopefully lead to a second interview.