Ace the Phone Interview

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Ace the Phone Interview

When you enter the interview process for a new career opportunity, the first step in the interview process may not necessarily be an in-person interview. Often, companies will start the interview process with a phone interview. Not only does it allow companies to easily pre-screen candidates, but it also saves time for all parties to initially determine best fit. While there are many benefits to beginning with a phone interview, it is important to be prepared; the phone interview could set you up for success in the rest of the interview process.

While ensuring that you answer the phone may seem like a silly reminder, it shows that you are prompt and timely. Often, companies will give you a scheduled interview time or window. Ensure that you have chosen a quiet, strong signal location to take the interview when possible. Spotty service will only prolong the interview and raise tension. You are in control of your choice in location for a phone interview. However, if they don’t, you can never be sure if you will be next to your phone when they call. Therefore, check your voicemail to ensure its professionalism. If you miss a call from a potential employer, it would be unfortunate if their first impression was a less than professional voicemail message.

Relating to how you sound during the interview, you want to set the professional stage in every manner you can. If this means dressing up for a phone interview, it is not a bad option. Often, phone interviews can seem incredibly informal. As you will act accordingly to how you dress, use this as a test run for the next interview. Dress up in interview clothing for the role you want to achieve. Your body language, tone and mindset will follow.

When speaking during the interview, ensure you are using a positive, energetic tone and speaking in a slow, clear manner. Since you are not in an in-person interview, you can’t portray emotion or body language to show genuine interest. Instead, a positive speaking tone and speaking of your interest is the best case for presenting yourself well. Speak clearly and be detailed. At the same time, though, it is important to listen carefully too. When possible, take notes while you are participating in the interview. As you take notes during the interview, you are able to use the knowledge you have gained to better position your responses in this and future interviews. Though you should not interrupt, actively listen and be attentive. This will show genuine interest and involvement in the process. 

Another benefit of a phone interview is the ability to reference whatever notes you have taken prior to the interview. If you have them, use them! Make a list of questions you have regarding the company, the position and its functions. Reference these notes throughout the interview when the interviewers ultimately asks if you have any questions. You should always have questions; it is an interview for both parties.

To close the interview, end on a strong, positive note. Always thank the interviewer as they took time out of their schedule to interview you for this opportunity. Send a follow-up email a few hours later thanking them for their time. If you are still invested in pursuing the opportunity, confirm your interest in the role. You want to stay top of mind and in a positive light. Often, the first step in many job interviewing processes will be the phone interview. Headway can definitely be made during this stage if you prepare properly and present yourself well.

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