How to Prepare for a Phone Interview Like a Pro

If you’ve written your resume well then you should find yourself being contacted by prospective employers for an interview. Nowadays that first contact with companies is via phone interview. Therefore, knowing how to prepare for a phone interview can give you a distinct advantage among the competition.

Phone interviews aren’t everyone’s favorite step in the job seeking process but they are more common than ever before. Just like building perfect resumes, telephone interviews are often essential to getting your dream job. As we become more reliant on digital tools, telephone interviews and chats with potential employees via Skype, WhatsApp, and Google Hangouts are becoming ever more popular with employers.

Phone interviews can be tricker than regular face-to-face interviews as there is no way to read your interviewer’s expressions, dressing to impress makes less difference and issues with bad cell coverage can cause headaches. However, it’s important to remember that this is just the first step towards an in-person meeting with your potential employer and to landing the job. Nevertheless, a phone interview is still an interview and should be treated as such.

Top Phone Interview Tips

telephone interview call

Be Prepared

Just like any formal job interview, being prepared is crucial. A phone interview is no different.

There are a few things you can do to make sure you’re fully prepped for your call with a hiring manager. First of all, try to do a little digging on the person you’re going to be speaking to. A quick LinkedIn check or Google search can tell you quite a lot about the experience and motivations of the person on the other end of the call.

Additionally, don’t forget to do your research on the position and the company. It’s worth re-reading the original job description or ad that you originally responded to. That way you’ll be fully ready to answer questions about the role.

You should also spend some time looking over the company website. It will help you understand the corporate message and mission a lot better.

Putting in this work should pay dividends as you’ll then be able to really show off your knowledge, which is just what the hiring manager will be looking for. It also helps to prepare a few questions of your own for the interviewer to demonstrate extra enthusiasm.

Here’s a quick preparation checklist for your phone interview:

  • Know who’s calling
  • Check the job description one more time
  • Have a good look at the company website
  • Prepare a few questions for the interviewer

Find a Quiet Place to Talk

The best thing about a phone interview is that you can do it almost anywhere without traveling to your prospective employer’s office. There are still a few downsides though, the biggest being background noise or bad signal.

If you’re taking the call at home, then it should be easier to find a quiet spot to do the interview. On the other hand, if you’re receiving a call in your current workplace this can be somewhat trickier. If for any reason you’re outside the home when the interview is due to happen, find somewhere quiet to sit and more important come prepared with a set of headphones. You don’t want to miss any important info from the interviewer after all.

If the worst comes to the worst and you can’t find somewhere suitable to chat or you’ve found yourself in an area with spotty cell coverage don’t worry. You can always reschedule until a more appropriate time.

Speak Clearly and Smile

Even with the best network coverage, speaking on a phone isn’t always as precise as speaking to someone in the same room. Therefore it’s important to make sure that you’re speaking clearly when you talk, so you can be properly understood. First and foremostly, avoid slang and keep your language more formal and professional.

It might seem strange, but smiling on the call really helps. While the interviewer won’t be able to see it, it can positively affect the tone and candor of your voice when speaking on the phone. Little touches like this will make all the difference.

Listen Carefully and Take It Slow

Phone interviews are nearly always the first step of a company’s hiring process. Therefore the person you’re speaking to will most likely spend a lot of the call explaining the job and the company in detail. Let them talk and make sure never to interrupt them.

When it comes time for you to do the talking remember to take it slow and not to rush as you talk. This will not only keep you calm under pressure but will also ensure that you get your message across clearly.

Common Phone Interview Questions

on the phone for an interview

As the interviewer is going to spend more of the call time getting to know you, your career history and your motivations, you’ll probably encounter the following common interview questions on your call:

  • Tell us a little about yourself
  • Why have you decided to leave your current job?
  • Are you willing to relocate/travel for this position?
  • What are your daily responsibilities at your current job?
  • What motivates you?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • Why did you decide to apply for this position?
  • What interests you most about working for this company?
  • What can you personally bring to this role?

What Happens After a Phone Interview?

When you’re done don’t forget to also send a quick follow up email to thank your interviewer for their time and restate your enthusiasm for the role. If you can do it within 12 hours of the call all the better. Proper job interview follow-up steps like this make a positive difference, especially if there are a lot of other candidates for the position.

It’s probably a good idea to do a quick debrief and note down any points of observation that could help you improve for your next interview. This will also be useful in case you get called in for a face-to-face meeting in the future.

As you can see, phone interviews aren’t nearly as scary as they sound. Like any step of your job hunt they just take the right preparation and a calm and collected attitude.

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