How to Nail a Phone Interview

A phone interview may only be the first step in your job hunting process, but don’t overlook its importance.

It’s the small glimpse and first impression an employer gets of you. And if you’re not careful, it may be the only glimpse. As companies see more and more applicants vying for the same opportunity, a phone interview is the first step in weeding out the weakest links before inviting the top dogs in for a face-to-face meeting.

Not only are phone interviews more realistic for candidates applying from remote location, or for those across the country — they save businesses significant time and serve as a method of quickly cutting down the applicant list.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make during a phone interview is sounding bored or disconnected. Because employers won’t get to see your face, nailing down this process is crucial to your future success.

Here are a few tips for nailing a phone interview:

1. Make time

Phone interviews can trigger a few unknowns. The call you expected might come 10 minutes late, and there’s a chance you could go over what you thought would be a half-hour call. For that reason, it’s a wise idea to clear your calendar for some time before and after — so you can adequately prepare and have enough time to finish. There’s nothing worse than feeling rushed, or, worse yet, asking your interviewer to wrap things up early. The latter is sure to diminish your interviewer’s trust.

2. Find the right place

As tempting as it is to cozy up on your couch, perhaps a more “professional” backdrop would suffice. Even if they can’t see you, take a seat at your home office desk, or find a spot at your kitchen table. There’s sure to be a place where you can find distractions at a minimum. Let your roommates know you have a phone interview lined up, and be sure pets won’t be in the way. Not only will a distraction throw you off your game, your interviewer could also be sidetracked by outside noise.

3. Be ready

You’re as ready as you’ll ever be. Well, if you’ve adequately prepared, that is. Be sure to have a copy of your resume right in front of you, should your employer have a specific question about an experience or occurrence. Sure, you know your history — but there’s no saying if anxiety will come into play. Taping it on the wall is another option for a quick reference. Have a pen and paper in front of you in case you need to take notes, and keep a water bottle within arm’s reach.

4. Prepare yourself

When the phone begins to ring, you should have an accurate idea of who is calling you. Be sure you research the company or organization beforehand, and even do a little research on your interviewer. A phone interview is much more limited compared to an in-person or video interview, so this is your chance to impress without going overboard. Be sure to dress the part, but know what that part is. You might be surprised! You should never feel like you’re an outsider during an interview. You should be educated and prepared as companies will be quick to discard any non-qualified candidates. No piece of information is too minute to absorb. Stay confident, find a power pose and smile. It might even be worth it to peruse these blogs for tips and insights in the industry.

5. Don’t forget to follow up

Even if it was just a phone interview, let them know you were appreciative for the opportunity by sending a thank you email. After all, you’ll likely be hoping for a follow-up from the interviewer to secure an in-person interview. Especially when you’re swimming in a sea of hundreds of applicants, make sure your interviewer remembers you through a proper thank you message.

Bonus Tip:

Be sure you have cell service! Especially if you’re interviewing in an unfamiliar location, test out the phone reception. Or, better yet, use a landline.

If you’re looking to put your phone interview tips to practice, or you’re looking for talent for your own company, Celarity can help! We’ve been working with qualified individuals and businesses in the Twin Cities since 1993, and we’re dedicated to building quality relationships. Contact us today to learn more!

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