How to Nail Your Next Phone Interview

One of the most common interviews today is the phone interview. In fact, more and more companies are using the phone interview to initially screen candidates, or as an alternative to the first round in-person interview. As reported on, 57% of human resource managers report that phone interviews happen “very often.”

You may think a phone interview is a lot easier than an in-person interview. After all, you can do it from the comfort of your home, without having to get dressed up in your interview finest, and trek all the way to the company. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a phone interview just as seriously.

By following the steps outlined below, you can nail your next phone interview, and move on to the next round.

  1. Always pick up the phone prepared

Even though you are attending your interview on the phone, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared. Think of your phone interview as you would an in-person interview, and do your homework.

You should research the company and the person you will be speaking to during your interview, as well as review the job description. In addition to reviewing the company’s website, perform an Internet search for the latest company news. Don’t forget to take notes and write down questions you have about the company and the job.

Learnvest’s Judith A. Stock, recommends finding a picture of the person you will be conducting your interview, as it will make it easier to talk to them when you know what they look like.

Keep your research and computer/tablet handy

A true benefit of the phone interview is your ability to have your research right in front of you, without the interviewer knowing. Before your interview starts, be sure to pull up the company’s website on your computer or tablet and use it as a guide during your interview. If you found an interesting article, you can also have that handy for discussion.

Of course, don’t forget to have your resume at the ready, as this will make it easier for you to discuss your accomplishments and past work history.

Get your head and space ready

Don’t wait until the last minute to find a quiet space to conduct your phone interview. Not only will this make you feel and sound more anxious, but it will also show lack of professionalism on your part.

Choose a quiet room in your home that is free of noise and distraction. If another people are home, ask them to be quiet while during your phone interview. If you have to take your phone interview at work, close your office door, or find a conference room or empty office where you can talk. You can also take the call in your car, as long as you are parked somewhere that is quiet. However, speaking on a landline is more ideal. You won’t have to worry about dropped calls or poor reception.

Try and be in your interview space at least 15 minutes before your interview. This will give you time to review any last minute info, pull up your questions, interview cheat sheet, or computer, as well as help to center your focus and get your mind ready for the interview.

Be thorough, yet concise

It’s easy to forget to be brief and concise when you are on the phone. Because you can’t see the person you are talking to, or gauge their reaction, you may have a tendency to give long answers to questions, and go on and on about your experience. Instead, try to stay focused and provide clear and concise answers to questions.

Remember, it’s okay to take a moment to collect your thoughts before answering a question. Also remember to speak slowly, clearly, and try to enunciate your words. Some experts also recommend speaking with a smile to help vocalize your enthusiasm.

Conclude strong and follow-up with a thank you

Research conducted by Cosmopolitan, found that most hr managers reject candidates because they “can’t see the person in the job.” The best way to show you are the right candidate during your phone interview is to be prepared, ask questions, and conclude the interview by expressing your interest.

Finally, don’t forget to follow-up with a thank you note/email. Regardless of what type of interview you attended, sending a thank you is a great way to express further interest, and let the interviewer know you appreciate their time and are excited about the next steps.

What are your thoughts on preparing for a phone interview? Do you have any tips you use to ensure phone interview success? Join the conversation on Twitter or Facebook.

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