As an IT recruiter, I do telephone job interviews everyday. A phone interview is like a mini job interview. If it goes well and the candidate is excited about the job opportunity, then they have a good chance of moving to the next stage in the recruiting process – a face-to-face interview.
Here’s a 3:21 minute video to help you get ready for telephone jobs interviews and avoid some of the common mistakes:
10 Tips to Ace Telephone Job Interviews
Have your resume on hand
Nothing is worse than when a hiring manager or recruiter asks you about a specific detail or date on your resume and your draw a blank when answering the question. Have a copy of the job description on hand as well with some notes about the company.
Make sure you’re in quiet setting
Turn off all background noises and make sure that distractions such as cell phones and TVs are turned off. Also, if animals are around make sure they are in an area where they will not be heard during the interview.
Do not eat or drink anything while being interviewed
It’s incredibly irritating to hear someone chewing or drinking on the other end of the line, so avoid making this mistake in a phone interview.
Prepare answers for common interview questions
The interviewer is likely to ask you some of these common interview questions:
- Why you want to work for the particular company
- What you know about the company
- Your strengths and weaknesses
- Why you left your last position
Use a landline phone when possible
If you have to use a cell phone, make sure you are in a location where you have full reception and no background noise.
Provide yourself the right amount of time
Interviews may sometimes go longer than their allotted time slots if the conversation is going really well so make sure you keep that in mind when scheduling a phone screen. If there is commitment that you have after the interviewer and there is no flexibility to move it, make sure that you share this information before the interview so time expectations can be set accordingly.
Remember that the interviewer/recruiter cannot see your body language so you need to convey all thoughts and actions through your words.
Dress professionally and smile
Sometimes just being in the proper mind frame can help one to feel more confident and perform better in an interview. So if it helps you to dress the part even though you won’t be meeting anyone, dress the part! And be sure to smile because this will make your voice sound more friendly and likable.
Prepare questions to ask your interviewer
A phone interview is essentially the same as in person interview, minus the face to face interaction so like in any regular interview setting, make sure you have minimum 2-3 questions to ask your interviewer about the potential opportunity/company. Please avoid asking about compensation and vacation as well. There is a time and place for that discussion and a phone interview is not the right time.
If this is a video interview
No pj’s and avoid skyping on your bed.
Avoiding telephone job interview disasters
Did I forget anything? Have you ever had a phone interview disaster? Please tell us about it in the comments
More communication tips for your job search
- How to respond to ‘Tell me about yourself’ in a job interview
- Mind hacks to calm your thoughts and feel more confident even if you’re feeling nervous
- Simple Improv techniques to improve your communication skills
- How to explain a big gap on your resume
- Tackling the question: What is your biggest weakness?
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Very helpful guide on telephone interviews! Wanted to comment on adding the following to the video interview portion:
“Since the interviewer will be able to see you, do dress the part as you would in a face-to-face and sit in a comfortable chair at a desk or table with an uncluttered background.”
Hi, I’m Alison Doyle for About.com. Some employers choose to prescreen job candidates over the phone before doing an in-person interview. Find out how you can prepare for a phone interview so that it goes off without a hitch. Before the call, confirm all arrangements such as the date, time, and who you will be talking to. Research the job and the company so you are prepared to discuss the organization and your role. Practice interviewing so you have an idea of what you’ll say in response to likely interview questions. Use a quiet, comfortable, and private space. If you’re at home, kick out the kids and the dog and close the door. Have your resume in clear view taped to the wall or on your desk. Also have a pad and pen ready for note-taking Turn call waiting off on your phone and be sure to use a landline, not a cell phone, whenever possible. You don’t want to have to worry about static or dropped calls. During the interview, you’ll need to sound as professional as you would if you were meeting the interviewer face to face. Don’t smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink while you’re on the phone. Smile. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice. Speak slowly and enunciate clearly. Don’t speak in run on sentences that will not allow the interviewer to interject or ask more questions. Use the person’s title during the conversation (Mr. or Ms. and their last name.). Only use a first name if they ask you to. Otherwise, stick with the formal title. Thank the interviewer and ask what the next step in the process will be. Remember to send a thank you note after every interview, regardless of how it is conducted. Thanks for watching. To learn more visit us on the Web at About.com.