Everybody hates phone interviews, but we all need to get past them to make it to the next round in the process. And, there are obstacles in your way. Phone interviews are really phone screens. Employers are looking for a quick, easy reason to mark you off the list. Through process of elimination, they can get to a short list of people to interview in person. With that in mind, here are 7 awesome phone interview tips that get you to the next step.
Tip #1 – Prep for this interview like it’s a face-to-face
The better prepared you are, the better you’ll perform in this interview. What does it take to prepare? As soon as you get the request and set up a time that works for you, start researching. Look up as much information as you can about the company AND the person who’s interviewing you.
See more on how to prepare for a phone interview
Tip #2 – Know what questions you’ll be asked
Find common phone interview questions and practice saying your answers. Rehearsing them ahead of time will make them come out smoothly, even if you get nervous. You’ll seem more confident and capable to the interviewer.
Tip #3 – Get your notes ready
Make up a phone interview cheat sheet with a list of questions to ask and a few key points to make about yourself. Keep this in front of you during your interview (along with your resume).
Tip #4 – Build your confidence
Psych yourself up for this interview. You can boost your phone interview confidence several ways. First, dress for this interview as if you were going to an on-site interview. Dressing professionally will make you feel more powerful and help you project confidence to that employer.
Then, visualize a good outcome from this conversation. This is very important. Your expectations of how this will go will affect what you say and how you say it. You’ll have more confidence and make a better impression if you expect it to go well. And you should—if they’re calling you, there’s a lot they liked about you.
Finally, before the call, take a few deep, relaxing breaths. It will slow down any anxiety and make you seem calm, cool, and collected. When you talk, smile!
Tip #5 – Control your environment
Choose a calm, quiet place to have this conversation. A quiet room at home is best. Minimize any potential distractions. Kick out the kids or the dog, and quiet other phones or other things that may interrupt your train of thought. Keep a glass of water next to you (without clinking ice).
Tip #6 – Take notes the old fashioned way
You never know when you’ll need to write down something from your interview—some important points, new information, a name, a website, and so on. Be ready. A computer keyboard may have an audible click, so stick with a pen (or pencil) and paper.
Tip #7 – Ask for the next step
Asking for the next step is a Must Do in any job interview. You need to know how you’ve done in this conversation. Based on what they’ve heard, are they ready and willing to move you to the next step? Getting that acknowledgement is a big psychological step toward receiving the invitation to interview face-to-face. It’s a commitment. If for some reason they’re not, you may be able to find out why, correct it, and get back on track.
Bonus Tip: Always send a thank you note
Manners and good communication skills count for a lot in every job interview. Send a thank you email within 24 hours of your call—the sooner the better.
See these phone interview thank you note tips.
*For more information, check out my series Phone Interviews: The 37 Most Essential Tips That Will Get You to the Face-to-Face.