The Dos and Don’ts of Phone Interviews
In today’s on-the-go digital world, phone interviews are becoming increasingly popular for interviews with multiple rounds. These interviews are convenient, easy to schedule and save time. Oftentimes, the phone interview serves as a preliminary round that determines whether or not a candidate will be invited to an in-person interview. These interviews sound great on paper: you don’t have to dress up and the pressure of a face-to-face meeting is eliminated — phone interviews are a breeze, right? While phone interviews do have their perks, they should be taken as seriously as any other from of interviewing. Here are some of the best tips for over-the-phone interviews.
You should prepare for a phone interview the same way you would for any other interview. This entails doing your research on the company, being familiar with the job description and preparing questions. You should also practice answering anticipated questions. Having your resume in front of you is another way to ensure you are prepared because it is likely the interviewer will reference it.
- Charge your phone.
The last thing you want is for your phone to die mid-sentence just as you and the interviewer are warming up. Make sure that your phone is fully charged prior to the interview and that you have a phone charger with you in case the phone call is lengthy.
- Find a comfortable location.
Choose an environment in which you will not be disturbed. Before your interview takes place, it is important to find a location that is quiet, has good phone reception and no distractions. Avoid locations such as busy coffee shops and other noisy public places. If you are going to be at home, keep the TV and music off. To ensure that all distractions are eliminated, it is also a good idea to turn off mobile notifications prior to the interview so that your phone is not buzzing or dinging in your ear while you are trying to concentrate.
- Pay attention to how you speak.
The most important tip to remember for a phone interview is to slowly and speak clearly. You should also make sure you sound cheerful and interested. Avoid a monotone voice. Try smiling when you answer the phone and throughout the interview: it gives your voice a warm, welcoming and confident tone that will translate to the interviewer in a positive way.
- Take notes.
Taking notes will keep you focused on what the interviewer is saying and help you come up with questions you can ask at the end. Make note of the questions that you were asked and other important pieces of the conversation. Notes are a valuable resource that can help prepare you for a follow-up interview.
- Don’t ramble.
Keep answers as brief as possible. In other words be thoughtful and thorough but get to the point; without the element of eye contact and body language, it can be easy to lose focus (and interest) fast. Limit your response time to a minute or less. Instead of rambling or using fillers such as “um” and “uh,” take a few seconds to think of your response.
- Don’t forget to keep it formal.
A phone interview can feel comfortable and informal because you are not dressed up or face-to-face with the interviewer. However, you must not forget to keep the interview formal. Don’t talk in slang and don’t use curse words. Speak how you would during any professional interview.
- Don’t eat food, chew gum or drink during the interview.
These are all noises the interviewer does not want to hear in his/her ear. These activities are also distracting and take away from your ability to speak clearly. However, having a glass of water in front of you is okay in case your throat gets dry.
- Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
Give the interviewer time to finish their full thought. Interrupting him/her mid-sentence is rude. If you feel like you are going to forget what you had to say/ask, then write it down and come back to it once he/she is done speaking.