How to Stand Out on the Phone Interview

You received an invitation for a phone interview. You probably are excited and relieved, because after all, it’s not as serious as a real interview.

But, hold on. Phone interviews are as important as in-person interviews. Many companies use them to prescreen candidates. If you want to move on, you need to ace this opportunity.

Use these tips to make a great first impression.

  1. Find Out What’s Expected
    Phone interviews can range from a five-minute check for a match to a complete hour-long evaluation. Ask how much time you need to set aside and plan accordingly.
  2. Do Your Homework
    As with all interviews, preparation is key. Review the job description. Learn as much as you can about the company by visiting their website and social media accounts. Look up common interview questions. And, write out your answers and/or practice them with family or friends.
  3. Find a Quiet Space
    Before the interview, identify a secluded space free from distractions. Avoid barking dogs, other calls and children in the background. Turn off all electronics including televisions, cell phones and computers. And, obviously, DO NOT interview while working at your current job.
  4. Dress the Part
    Since no one will see you, it’s tempting to kick back and interview in your most comfortable pajamas. This is not the best idea. Although you don’t need to buy a new outfit, dressing up will help you sound and act more professional.
  5. Follow the Rules of Phone Etiquette
    Phone conversations can be tricky because you can’t rely on body language and eye contact. To prevent awkward interruptions, always pause to make sure the other person has finished speaking. Also, start the conversation with an introduction and close by thanking the interviewer.
  6. Pay Attention to Tone
    Throughout the conversation, speak slowly and clearly. You want the interviewer to understand you even if the connection isn’t perfect. You should sound upbeat and interested, not sluggish or robotic.
  7. Smile
    This may seem silly, but you will sound like you are smiling (or frowning). Put on a happy face and let your personality shine.
  8. Listen
    Interviews can be stressful, and you may find yourself talking too much or thinking about what you are going to say next. Take a step back and remind yourself to pay attention to the current conversation.
  9. Use Notes
    One of the benefits of a phone interview is you can refer to and write notes without attracting attention. Take advantage of this perk. Keep your research materials handy and jot down anything you might need to remember.
  10. Follow-up
    Leave a great final impression by sending a thank you note within a day or two. Let the interviewer know you appreciated their time and express your ongoing interest in the position. Also, you may wish to inquire about next steps or any additional information they may need.

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