Congratulations on securing a phone interview! You’ve been on the job search and a recruiter or hiring manager has been intrigued by your resume and application. They’ve reached out to schedule your initial phone call, so time to get prepared. This is a crucial step in the hiring process as its your first chance to shine and show off the value you can bring to the job and company as a whole.
A phone interview is equally as important as an in-person interview, so you should approach them in the same way. Preparation is key if you want to set yourself up for success and increase your chances of moving forward in the interview process. Here are some tips to help you conquer your next phone interview:
Being able to speak to your experience, who you are, and why you want the position you are interviewing for is extremely important. Make sure to walk yourself through your resume multiple times to be sure you can speak to each title or bullet point listed. Also, come up with a list of questions you can ask the interviewer to show your interest in the position and the company. Your recruiter should also be able to provide you critical information regarding the role you are interviewing for. Insight into the team(s), company culture, the hiring manager’s approach, and tips on how to stand out above your competition! Also, don’t forget the simple questions. They will most likely ask, “what do you know about what we do?” It is critical that you research the company you are interviewing with. Search their website, their LinkedIn and be up to date on recent news and/or publications! Being knowledgeable here will show you respect their time, their organization, and that you have put in the effort to be prepared!
Choose a quiet room & test your connection.
This is likely your first impression, so you don’t want distractions to take away from your accomplishments. Things like dogs barking, kids playing, music, lawnmowers mowing, or the TV blaring in the background can completely throw the phone interview off track. It’s extremely important to find an area with minimal distractions to complete your interview. Also, be sure to test your connection and ensure you are in a place with strong reception.
Practice makes perfect.
It is important to practice answering interview questions before your actual interview. If you’re working with a recruiter, ask them for some sample questions if you don’t know where to start. You can practice with a friend or family member or by recording yourself. This will help gauge your speed and tone of voice, as well as showcase if you’re repeating any filler words such as “um”, “like” or “and”.
Smile while you speak & dress for success.
This may sound silly but smiling shows up in your voice. Since they can’t see you, the energy in your voice can show off your personality and demeanor. Be sure to dress as you would if this interview was in person, it will help you present your best self over the phone!
Overcommunicate since the interviewer can’t see you.
If you pause to make a note, don’t let the silence stretch out for too long. For example, you could say, “Just one second, please, while I write that down.” This way the interviewer knows so they don’t continue on without your full attention.
Be ready to take notes & have your resume in front of you.
Have a pen and paper handy to take notes on what the recruiter or hiring manager is saying. Also, have your own notes written down beforehand that you can reference to when asking the interviewer questions. Don’t forget to have your resume in front of you, printed or on your computer, so you can reference it throughout your interview.
Close the interview by asking about next steps.
It’s that old sales technique of “asking for the sale.” It’s as simple as asking the interviewer “what are the next steps in the interview process for this position?” This reinforces your interest in the position and sets in motion the chance of securing the follow-up interview. Also, be sure to ask, “are there any additional questions you have for me regarding my experience or background that I can help clarify or further explain?”
Send a “Thank You” email.
Sending an email thanking the interviewer(s) for their time can sometimes be more important than the interview itself. This shows your appreciation for them considering you for the position, reminds them of who you are, and gives you a chance to reiterate in writing why you are the best fit for the role. You can also use this email to ask any questions that came up after the call.
After an appropriate time period has passed since your interview (3-5 business days) without any updates from the recruiter or hiring manager, send a follow-up email. Reshare with them your interest in the job and include anything you may have connected with them on during the phone interview.
Good luck! Your next phone interview is your chance to land a follow-up interview for the job you’ve been searching for. Make it count!