10 Tips to Breeze Through Your Next Phone Interview

Phone Interview

No one enjoys sitting through a phone interview.

Even if you are great at regular interviews, you are probably nervous about speaking to a hiring manager over the phone.

You can’t see the other person’s reactions, you worry about background noises, and you are trying to find a place where you can talk without anyone overhearing you.

But so many companies are relying on phone interviews as a first step in the hiring process.

They use phone interviews to narrow the pool that is selected for in-person interviews, especially if they are hiring from around the country.

Getting better at phone interviews is critical if you are planning to look for a job in the next few years.

Here are ten tips that will help you breeze through your next phone interview:

1. Take It Seriously

It is human nature to take a phone interview less seriously than an in-person interview. You are sitting at home, having a phone conversation, which you have done so many times this week.

But it is not a routine phone call! A phone interview is just as important as the real deal – because it is one step to getting the job you desire. If you mess up the phone interview, you will not even get to the next stage.

Be prepared, show off your personality, and answer questions with conviction. Treat a phone interview with the same intensity as you would an in-person interview.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice

As with anything in life, you can improve at phone interviews if you practice. That does not mean applying to a bunch of jobs so you can take phone interviews every day! You can practice with a girlfriend or family member.

Say you get nervous speaking on the phone to an authority figure. Have your mom and dad ask you questions related to the job you are going after. They can take a similar tone to a hiring manager, mimicking the conditions you will face that day.

After three or four mock interviews, you will feel a lot more confident going into your first phone interview. Instead of awkward silences and rushed sentences, you will feel calm, prepared and ready to nail it!

3. Research

Always conduct thorough research before any job interview – even one that is on the phone or through Skype! It may sound like a cliché but knowing more about the company can go a long way in impressing a hiring manager.

Say you are being interviewed by a startup or small business. Researching their journey in the past few years, how they are planning to grow, and the company culture will give you an edge in your interview.

Not only will it allow you to show how much you know about the company, but you can tailor your answers to what they expect from employees. Also, be sure to read through the job description so you understand every aspect of the position you are seeking!

4. Charge Your Phone

Imagine if you spent days preparing for your big interview, only to discover that you have 20 percent battery on your smartphone when you get the call! Now you are scrambling to find a charger, while talking on the phone at the same time. That is a recipe for disaster!

Be sure to charge your phone to 100 percent the night before. Top it off an hour before the interview. Now you will have enough battery, even if your phone interview lasts for hours! Aside from avoiding a dropped call, you will also avoid the panic and anxiety that can be associated with seeing the low battery sign!

5. Invest in a Bluetooth Headset

Ever spend 30 to 45 minutes holding a massive iPhone or Android smartphone to your ear? It can get tiring very quickly, especially if you have a bulky case on your phone.

When you are interviewing for a big position, you want to be as focused on the call as possible. That means avoiding a fatigued arm from holding your phone up. Invest in a Bluetooth headset that provides clear and crisp call quality.

Practice calling with that headset, asking friends or family how your voice sounds on the other end. Now you can stick the headset in your ear, put your phone in your pocket and talk comfortably!

6. Take a Backseat

Having the required skill set for the job, demonstrating a willingness to take initiative and appearing confident are important skills to show off during a phone interview. But these are not the skills relevant to getting a job.

Sometimes it is important to show how well you can listen. When you are asked questions during your interview, talk clearly and in-depth about relevant topics. But when the other person is talking, it is your turn to listen!

Do not fall into the habit of trying to finish their sentences or saying a phrase each time they tell you something. Saying “yes” or “got it” each time the interviewer relays information can get annoying for them.

It is much better to stay silent when you are listening, only communicating infrequently to indicate you’re paying attention. And when the interviewer is done talking, you can jump right in with your thoughts.

Such an interviewing style shows that you are not afraid to talk or voice your opinions, but you are more than willing to listen as well. And focusing on listening also helps ensure you are not saying yes to something during your interview without properly understanding the interviewer’s question!

7. Write Up a Cheat Sheet

Memorizing every detail relevant to your job, degree or the company can be challenging. While it is helpful if you know all these details by heart, do not be afraid to create a little cheat sheet.

You are interviewing over the phone, which means you can use a piece of paper or digital document as guidance. Write down major details in bullet form, while splitting the information into relevant sections.

Say you are asked a detailed question. While you may be 90 percent sure in your answer, a quick glance at your cheat sheet will confirm it! Now you can speak confidently, without worrying about the accuracy of what you are saying.

Rock Your Life Method

8. Answer Confidently and Methodically

Between the stress of a phone interview, a desire to prove yourself, and the general anxiety of talking to someone who could determine your future, you may have a tendency to speak too quickly.

It is not a good sign during an in-person interview, but it is even worse over the phone. When you are in person, it can be easier to understand what a person is saying when they talk quickly.

But over the phone? If you are having to focus on what the interviewer is saying, put yourself in their shoes. They are having to focus just as much. So, do not talk too quietly or quickly!

Take a breath before each answer, adding plenty of pauses in between your thoughts. Answer questions clearly, confidently and in the appropriate volume.

And try not to be too abrupt in your answers. Simple yes or no answers are okay in certain instances – but elaborating with a short explanation can be more helpful in an interview.

9. Dress Appropriately

Since the other person cannot see you during a phone interview, why does it matter what you are wearing?

I have heard such a statement so many times from readers, friends and family! But I always tell my girlfriends, it is critical to dress for success!

Sure, the other person cannot see you. Whether you wear sweatpants or a dress, they will not know. But you will!

How we dress and feel has a major impact on our mental state and demeanor. If you roll out of bed, brush your teeth and take a phone interview an hour later, how do you think you will perform? Probably not in the most professional and exciting way.

Dress like you would for the in-person interview. Take a shower, put on a bit of makeup, wear perfume and look your best. It will come through in your voice, even if you do not realize it.

And since you are already dressed up, you can celebrate after your interview with a few drinks during happy hour!

10. Send a Follow Up Email

Making a good impression goes beyond how you perform during your interview.

End your interview in a pleasant way. Thank the interviewer for their time and mention how you are looking forward to hearing from the company in the coming days/weeks.

An hour after the interview, sit down and write a follow-up email. Send it directly to the interviewer, reiterating how you are thankful for the opportunity. And mention that you are reachable via phone or email for a follow up.

By following these steps, you will be acing phone interviews in no time! When you used to dread picking up the phone and hearing the voice of a hiring manager – now you will be excited about each chance to prove your credentials.

Here at Work It Sister, I’ll help you to be career confident and become a perfect candidate and get noticed by recruiters. I’ll show you how to write an amazing resume, raise your game online with a fantastic Linkedin profile, increase your job search success and get you ready to interview to get the job you want, get a promotion or move up the career ladder.  

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