It is becoming more and more common for your first interview to be a phone interview. Some companies will even have you go through a few rounds of phone interviews with multiple people before they even ask you to come in for a face-to-face interview. Therefore, it is more important than ever to know how to prepare for and ace a phone interview.
The good news is that we can help and it is not overly complicated. Let’s start with things you should do BEFORE the phone interview:
1.) Determine where you will be taking the call for the phone interview and clear the room of all possible distractions
2.) Have a pen and paper ready so you can take notes and jot down any questions that arise while the interviewer is speaking
3.) Have a copy of your resume and cover letter that you used to apply for the position on a table or desk in clear view so you can reference it
4.) Research the company so that when you get asked the question ‘What do you know about our company’ you can reply back with a few facts. If necessary write the facts down on your notepad if you are nervous you might forget them
Now that you are prepared for the interview, here are some guidelines to follow when the interview is actually taking place:
1.) Don’t chew gum, eat, or smoke during the interview – Nobody wants to hear someone doing any of these things while conducting an interview. If you do, you are likely to annoy the interviewer and cost yourself a chance at landing the position.
2.) Smile – It is amazing the difference in someone’s voice when they are smiling versus when they are not. I know this may sound silly, but stay with me…. Think about the last time you were talking on the phone with your best friend about a great time you two had and how happy your voice sounded. Next, think about a time at work when you were on the phone with an angry customer or being forced to do something you would rather not…. See what I mean??
3.) Don’t be afraid of silence – It is better to pause and think thoroughly through your answer rather than mumbling or vomiting out an incoherent response to a question. Part of the reason employers do phone interviews (especially for customer facing positions) is to see how you sound on the phone when you are unsure of yourself.
The bottom line: It is better to have a few moments of silence rather than a response you regret!
4.) Don’t interrupt the interviewer – Not only is this rude, but it also shows that you are not a good listener. Enough said.
5.) Ask at least one question – Sooner or later the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions. It is ALWAYS a good idea to have at least one question. This shows that you have been listening and are genuinely interested in making sure this position is a fit for you as well as the employer.
6.) Say “thank-you” – At the end of the phone interview, it is CRITICAL you thank the interviewer for their time. They are doing you a favor by interviewing you for a position with their company and you need to make sure that you are thanking them for their time. DON’T FORGET THIS ONE!!!
Hopefully, you now feel confident so that you can ace your next phone interview. However, you are not done quite yet. There is one more thing that you absolutely HAVE to do if you really want the job…. Send or E-mail a thank-you note to the interviewer again thanking them for their time and recapping your skills. This is critical because it shows that you are professional, remind them of who you are, and prove that you would be an asset in their organization.
That’s it! Follow these steps above and I you will be ahead of 99.99% of people out there.