Between the Lines: Tips for an Effective Phone Interview

December 1, 2015

 

 

Phone interviews are odd hybrids. You’ve caught a potential employer's eye enough that they want to speak with you. Yet, it won’t be in-person. While phone interviews can feel like half-interviews, it’s a mistake not to prepare for them fully. Here are 5 tips to minimize the shortcomings and maximize the advantages of a phone interview. 

 

  1. Dress for success. Even though your interviewers won’t see you, you’d be remiss to talk to them in your pajamas. The way you dress has direct bearing on the way you feel and carry yourself. Shower, shave (if applicable), and put on professional attire as you get into the mindset of the interview.
     

  2. Find your place. Plan in advance where you will conduct the interview. Use a landline if possible; you don’t want the primary thing they remember about your interview to be the poor connection! Sit at a desk or table rather than lounging around or pacing.
     

  3. Notes. One of the great benefits of not being in person is that you can have reference materials. Have your resume, cover letter, and a cheat-sheet with information about the company and points you may want to make. Include a blank page in case you want to take notes or jot down bullets of things to cover in your response as they pose questions.
     

  4. Smile! It’s perennial advice with phone interviews, but is important enough to reiterate. While they won’t be able to see the smile, the pleasant tone will translate to your voice. Smiling throughout will help you remain relaxed and positive.
     

  5. Pay attention to cues. Without non-verbals to guide you, you’ll want to pay attention to the give and take of conversation. Note their tone and the information it gives you about how to reply: are they sounding bored? Rushed? Curious? After a question is asked, pause to ensure they’ve finished speaking and give yourself a moment to collect your thoughts.

 

Though a phone interview does not have a face-to-face element, with a little preparation and thought, a productive and engaging conversation can pave the way to an in-person interview.

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