Phone Interview Tips

How to Handle Phone Interviews

In today’s economic climate, it is not uncommon for employers to receive thousands of applicants. A large number of these applicants are going to have the right qualifications to succeed at the company. This leaves the company with two choices:

  • Contact several dozen applicants and waste company time interviewing them individually.
  • Call these applicants for a brief phone interview to pre-screen them for the role.

Phone interviews have quickly become a common occurrence in both large and small companies, as they allow human resources to quickly cut down a larger list of qualified applicants to a short list of those that deserve an in person interview. Here are several phone interview tips to ensure success.

Phone Interview Preparation

Even seasoned professionals tend to be ill prepared for phone interviews, allowing you the opportunity to stand out in the pack.  Be prepared by performing all the interview preparation tips for all types of interviews, including:

  • Researching the company holding the interview.
  • Preparing answers to possible interview questions.
  • Mentally preparing yourself for a positive attitude.

In addition to these preparation tips, you can also apply methods that are exclusive to phone interviews, including:

  • Finding a quiet area where your phone has good reception and sound quality.
  • Keeping a pencil and paper on hand to take any relevant notes.
  • Mapping out important points beforehand, in writing, it mention during the interview.
  • Keeping your resume in front of you to discuss specific details.
  • See if you can access a laptop or computer to email relevant documents.

Implementing all of these preparation procedures will improve your chances of succeeding during the interview.

During the Phone Interview

Similarly with traditional interviews, basic question and answer tips apply. Be confident, provide positive answers that reflect well on both your past history and your commitment to the role, listen to the speaker and so on. There are also phone specific practices, including:

  • Remain standing as you speak so that your voice comes across more clearly.
  • Try your best to smile and laugh as though the person was in the room. This will come through your voice.
  • Keep all distracting objects away, so that you are focused on the conversation, and nothing keeps you from hearing the interviewer, and each question appropriately.

It is important to remember that phone interviews are designed to filter out specific candidates – not necessarily to hire specific candidates. Interviewers are looking for reasons not to call you in for an in-person interview. Avoid conversations about salary.   Allow the interviewer to do most of the talking (your personality is slightly less important in a phone interview than an in person interview – interruptions are not recommended), and refrain from complaining about anything, including aspect of your previous work experiences.

Acing Your Interview

Preparation, practice and successful delivery of your answers are going to give you the opportunity to be called in for an in-person interview. Phone interviews are slightly easier to handle, but phone interviews are also designed to remove applicants, so perfection is important and preparation is arguably your best bet.