How to Do Well in a Phone Interview

There are very few things more daunting than having to do well in a phone interview. Interviewing for a job in person allows you to gauge how well you are performing in the interview by reading a managers body language and gestures. However, a phone interview is much less personal experience that requires more preparation.

Five Phone Interview Tips

So how do you do well in a phone interview? To answer this question I’ve put together the following five phone interview tips.

Phone Interview Tip 1: Get Organized

  • Write down the contact’s name and title.
  • Print out any information you found on the employer via their website or related    resources so you can refer to it during the interview.
  • Keep all this near your phone at all times. You may not always be able to predict what time they will call.
  • Have a pen and notepad ready. The notepad should have at least 3 questions you want to ask the prospective employer about. You’ll also use the notepad to take notes during your interview, clarify points, or ask questions later during the “So, do you have any questions for me?” portion of the interview. Get the interviewer’s name, title and contact information (such as e-mail address, phone, etc.) Job title and responsibilities (brief but specific). Your notes will also be a great point of reference for your thank-you letter.
  • Have your resume in front of you. Should they ask you to elaborate on a point you will be ready to supply additional information.

Phone Interview Tip 2: Keep Distractions Away

  • Eliminate call waiting during your job search. Call waiting is very distracting to an interviewer. Use voice mail during your search time, so you won’t miss a call.
  • Put your interview information and telephone in a spare room that has a door. That way you can avoid distractions such as a dog barking, doorbell ringing or other disturbances.

Phone Interview Tip 3: Be Yourself

  • how-phone-interview
    Relax by taking deep breaths before picking up the phone.
  • Smile when answering the phone and speaking to the interviewer. This keeps you sounding enthusiastic and upbeat.
  • Give concrete examples when able (use your achievement section on the resume to aid you with these).
  •  Respond to the interviewer’s questions, but don’t volunteer information that hasn’t been asked. (No babbling!)
  • Repeat the question if you are not clear.

Phone Interview Tip 4: Land the In-person Interview

  • Be positive at all times! Never bad-mouth a previous employer.
  • Be enthusiastic about the opportunity. Mention how your skills match their needs.
  • Ask to schedule the interview. “This position sounds like a perfect fit. Can we schedule a time to meet and discuss this further?”

Phone Interview Tip 5: Send a thank-you/follow-up note

  • You can do this via e-mail or snail-mail. If responding to an online position, e-mail your thank-you note.
  •  Keep it short (one or two paragraphs).
  • Thank them for their time. Mention one or two things you learned during the phone interview. Reiterate how your skills match what they’re looking for. Tell them you are very excited about working for them and are capable to do the job. Address any points requested by the interviewer.
  • If you already scheduled an in-person interview, tell the interviewer you are looking forward to the interview on ______(day) at _____ (time).
  • Send a follow-up note to all phone interviews, even if you don’t take the position. It’s always a good practice to thank people for their time.

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