Our Five Favorite Phone Interview Tips

Candidate on phone to demonstrate our five favorite interview tips

Our Five Favorite Phone Interview Tips

Choose the Right Environment

A phone interview is probably your first verbal interaction with a potential employer. Things like background noise or a bad phone connection detract from your ability to make a good impression. Your well-thought out and well-expressed responses should take center stage. Plan to be in a quiet place where you will not be interrupted by small children, pets or unexpected noises. You shouldn’t be in the car, or in a crowd. Retreating to a tranquil space will also help you to focus on providing concise answers and listening intently to the interviewer. A phone interview is also the first measure of your ability to complete a task for a potential employer. Selecting the best conditions in which to converse during the call demonstrates that you understand this unspoken requirement.

Adopt the Boy/Girl Scout Motto (Be prepared)

When it comes to preparing for a phone interview, you should adapt the same level of preparation that you would for an in-person interview (minus the business suit). Make sure you’ve set aside at least an hour of uninterrupted time. Prepare answers to common interview questions, such as “where to do you see yourself in 5 years?” or “talk about one of your greatest work-related accomplishments.” Practice answering questions out loud. Make sure that you and your interviewer have the same, current copy of your resume, and have it in front of you during the call. Take time before the call to review dates of employment and key responsibilities of past positions. You should be able to answer questions about these topics concisely and without hesitation. Make a list of questions that you have about the position or the company and keep it with your during the call. Make sure that your mobile phone is charged and that any alerts that may interrupt the conversation are disabled. If you have the option to use a land line, that is preferred. Have a glass of water near you to stay hydrated, and avoid having to clear your throat often. Don’t eat, chew gum or smoke during the call. These things will be obvious to an interviewer and will pull their focus from you to your habits. Your focus should be only on the task at hand.

Do Your Research

LinkedIn is a valuable resource to search the company, and even the interviewer to gain more insight and preparation. Study the job description and requirements and be ready to demonstrate how your past and present experience makes you qualified to hold the position. Inc.com recommends researching where your interviewer went to school, what their interests or hobbies are, and what past jobs they have held. You may be able to establish a connection if you have similar experiences or interests. Standing out from other candidates and being more memorable to your interviewer is an essential element to getting that second interview. Many companies have a great deal of useful information on their websites that you can research and use to demonstrate your knowledge of the company and understanding of it’s mission and goals. Look for things like who their primary competitors are what sets them apart in the market. News and events, charity efforts and annual meetings can also be good topics to work into your interview as a way to indicate your interest in the company and your enthusiasm to be a part of their organization.

Keep Up Appearances

Even though your interviewer cannot see you and interpret physical cues, the tone of your voice is still influenced by your posture and facial expressions. Standing up helps you project your voice, speak clearly and have better breath control. Every sigh, yawn and heavy breath may be analyzed and misinterpreted on the other end of the phone. You should be conscious of not inadvertently projecting boredom or apathy with these sounds. Smile when you speak. You may not realize it, but you can actually hear a difference in the tone of your voice when you’re smiling versus frowning or remaining expressionless. When an interviewer “hears” a smile in your voice, this translates to excitement about the opportunity and happiness at having been considered for it. While you don’t necessarily need to dress up for a phone interview, you are more likely to project an air of professionalism if you look and feel the part.

If They Catch You Off Guard

While most phone interviews will be announced and scheduled, you may find yourself in a situation where a recruiter or hiring manager calls you without warning. If this happens, your best course of action is to tell the interviewer that you would love to talk to them, but could you schedule something for later? Tell him or her that you would like the opportunity to finish what you’re working on now and get to a quiet place. Even 15-20 minutes will give you time to get your resume in front of you, pull up the company website and mentally prepare for the conversation. You may be tempted to take the call regardless of your level of preparation, but don’t. Your interviewer will appreciate that you want to devote your attention to the call, and you will perform better having had a few minutes to get in the right frame of mind.

Don’t Talk too Much

In an attempt to give an interviewer every detail of why you feel you’re the best candidate for a job, you may talk your way out of it. Chances are good that the interviewer has a list of questions prepared for you. If you take long to answer one question, you are probably missing an opportunity to showcase other skills and experience that would be revealed through additional questions. Limiting your responses to two minutes or less is a good rule of thumb. A few seconds of silence during a phone conversation can feel twice as long and awkward when you haven’t developed a rapport with another person. However, if you’re rushing to fill open space, you my unintentionally interrupt your interviewer. A Fortune article recommends that you silently count two or three seconds after the interviewer stops talking before you start to speak. Saying “um” or “ah” can make you seem clumsy and ill-prepared. Silence while you consider your response will be interpreted as reflection and consideration, and is a better strategy.

As recruiters, the initial phone interview is an integral part of our process. We encourage our clients to conduct phone interviews with candidates to save time, promote diversity in the hiring process, and to foster a more candidate-friendly experience. If you have had little or no experience with a phone interview, it can be intimidating. As representatives of Bradley Staffing Group, our candidates receive guidance from veteran recruiters to perform at their best in all types of interview situations.  As with an in-person interview, preparation is your greatest asset. The other strategies mentioned above, along with practice, will make you more comfortable and skilled at the phone interview process and more likely to get you a second interview for the most highly sought-after jobs.

Bradley Staffing Group is a full-service staffing firm based in Wayne, PA. We are committed to matching A-level talent with best-in-class businesses. Our knowledgeable and well-trained staff brings a combined 70+ years of staffing experience to our clients and candidates alike. http://bradleystaffinggroup.com/job-seekers/

 

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