You can relax. It’s only a phone interview, right?
Wrong! Just because it is not an in-person interview does not mean that your prospective employer will be going easy on you. This is not a “warm-up” interview. In fact, it is oftentimes the opposite. Employers will typically use phone interviews for job positions with large applicant pools to decide which candidates to select for in-person interviews. This means that nailing the phone interview is essential to continuing in the selection process.
With that, here are some tips for doing so:
- Dress professionally. Thinking that you’ll use your business tone but wear your party clothes is not the ideal phone interview set-up. Dressing professionally will put you in the right frame of mind to be thinking and talking about yourself as a prospective employee and a professional.
- Smile. Although you might feel goofy, smiling will help you compensate for the voice energy that gets lost in the call transmission. Employers want to hear that you are enthusiastic and excited about this opportunity. Don’t be afraid to let them know that you are!
- Do a test run before the actual phone interview. Make sure that you adjust the volume, locate the mute button, or do anything else to be sure that you are completely comfortable with the phone you will be using for the interview. Also, consider disabling any extra phone features that could be a distraction.
- Secure a quiet and comfortable interview space. If you live with other people and will take the interview call in your home or apartment, let them know the date and time of your interview. Be assertive and tell them that it is important that the living space be quiet at that time. If you have pets, keep them in an area where they won’t be a distraction. When picking your interview space, think ahead to potential dilemmas so that you can take care of them before they become issues.
- Confirm ahead of time who will be calling who when the interview time arrives. How awkward would it be if the time of your interview rolls around and you realize you don’t know if you’re supposed to call the prospective employer or if they’re supposed to call you? Trust me, it’s awkward.
- Take advantage of notes and Web access. Have everything you could possibly need to reference in front of you. Print out your resume, pull up the company’s website, and make a list of bullet points that you want to emphasize during the interview. You have free reign to have as many notes and materials prepared ahead of time as you want, so utilize this!