6 Tips for Phone Interviews

Taking phone call

Job interviews have changed a lot since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a job seeker, you may end up picking up a phone call and being surprised with an on-the-spot phone interview! Here are a few tips to keep in mind for a successful phone interview:

1. MOVE TO A QUIET AREA WITHOUT DISTRACTIONS. If you are unable to do so, do not be afraid request to schedule a time that will allow for you to be in a quiet, distraction-free location when the interviewer calls back. This will allow you to focus solely on the call and questions being asked. The lack of background noise will also help the interviewer hear your answers, and the interviewer will know you are taking the interview seriously.

2. SPEAK CLEARLY AND CONCISELY. Though you may be nervous, do not mumble or speak too quietly or quickly. Speaking over the phone is different than face-to-face. Your interviewer cannot see your face to help them understand the message you are trying to convey with your answers, so speaking clearly and calmly is extremely important. Do not speak too quickly, either. Your words may get jumbled and throw both you and the interviewer off.

3. THINK ABOUT YOUR ANSWERS BEFORE SPEAKING. Don't just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. Even if it is over the phone, it is still a job interview, and you should treat it like you would an in-person interview. If you do not have any answers prepared in advance, do not be afraid to let the interviewer know you need to take a minute to think about the question. Since the interviewer cannot see you, it is important to let them know you need a moment to think before answering. Sudden silence may make the interviewer think the call has dropped or you hung up, so be sure to inform them that you need to gather your thoughts before answering.

4. BE POLITE YET PROFESSIONAL. This call is a job interview. Without being able to dress up professionally and to meet the interviewer face-to-face, your interviewer is basing their entire impression on how you present yourself over the phone. Do not use slang or say things that come off as overly-friendly. You do not need to be cold, but you also need to keep in mind you are not speaking to a relative or family member. The person on the other end of the phone could end up becoming your boss, so conduct yourself in a respectful manner.

5. ASK QUESTIONS. Make sure you know what job the interviewer is calling about. If you applied to several jobs, keep a list of what companies you sent an application to. Do a little research after applying and jot down a few notes about each position/company. Do not be afraid to ask questions to which you were unable to find the answers with your research or the interviewer did not provide during your conversation. What is important to you about this job? Benefits? Career growth? Asking questions shows the interviewer you are serious about considering the position with their company.

6. THANK THE INTERVIEWR FOR THEIR CALL. Believe it or not, but not everyone who submits an application gets a call back for an interview. Something on your application or resume stood out enough for the company to call and speak with you. It is true that their company is hiring workers, but they did not have to call you, yet they did! The interviewer may be extremely busy, so thanking them for their call, and being sincere about it, lets them know you are serious about your job hunt.

They say you have one chance to make a first impression. Phone interviews do not give you the option to SHOW a potential employer you are a serious job seeker. There is no dressing up, going to an office, shaking an interviewer's hand, and letting them see how you conduct yourself during an interview. With a phone interview, you need to convey all of that with words! Don't be intimidated, and use these tips to help you be more successful in your next phone interview!