7 Phone Interview Tips: Mastering the Phone Interview
Never underestimate the importance of the phone interview. The phone interview is often the first and most important step in the interview process; if you don’t make a good impression during this stage, you probably won’t advance to the next level. Below are seven phone interview tips that will impress any hiring manager. Follow this advice to ace your next phone interview and score an in-person meeting.
1. Take the call in a quiet area Perhaps one of the most important phone interview tips is to go into a room where you can close the door and won’t risk be interrupted. You want to minimize background noise, such as talking or barking dogs, and ensure that the interviewer can hear you. The most important reason to take the call in a quiet room is to allow you to concentrate on the interviewer’s questions.
2. Give yourself plenty of time Many job seekers make the mistake of trying to fit a phone interview in during their lunch break at work, but what if the interviewer is running a few minutes late? Make the call at a time when you have at least 30 minutes available. Most phone interviews last only a few minutes, but the last thing you want to do is cut the call short if the interview is going well. The better you’re doing, the longer the call in most cases, so schedule the call when you know you’ll have plenty of free time should the phone job interview take longer than expected.
3. Use a reliable telephone Unpredictable cell phone service can result in poor call quality or dropped calls. The last thing you want is to interrupt the interviewer’s questions or your responses. You also don’t want to waste limited interview time trying to retrieve a dropped call. Cell phone earpieces are another no-no when it comes to phone interviews because the sound quality is often poor and the call volume tends to fade in and out. When possible, use a landline for your phone interview.
4. Use a cheat sheet Your cheat sheet should include your resume and cover letter, and any other documents that might help you answer questions. You should also include a list of prepared answers for likely questions. Rather than read the answers word-for-word, the list should serve as a way to refresh your memory and help you make your point.
5. Dress like it’s an in-person interview Although it’s acceptable to do a phone job interview from home in your pajamas, wearing business attire during the call can put you in a more professional mindset. This will help you focus better on the interviewers questions and provide more concise, confident answers.
6. Pace your words Talk slowly and clearly during your phone interview – but not too slowly. If you sound like you are half-asleep, the interviewer might assume that you won’t be productive on the job. On the other hand, if you speak too fast, the interviewer may miss important points.
7. Follow up with a phone interview “thank you” email Send a thank you email the same day as your interview. This will help reiterate your interest in the position and allow you to request an in-person interview. Since the goal of a phone interview is to get an in-person interview, don’t be shy about asking for one in your thank you note.
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