Since you’ll almost always have to go through a phone interview in order to get in front of actual people in a company, it’s important to nail it.
Here are some tips for prepping and carrying out the interview:
1. Use your invisibility! Speaking on the phone carries the huge advantage of the interviewer not being able to see what you’re doing.
- Have the job description, your resume, and your cover letter printed out or in front of you. Take some time beforehand to highlight the experiences and qualities that you want to be sure to hit on in the interview, and refer to these while you’re chatting.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses. Write out your three strongest selling points, and your three weaknesses — with an answer to how that weakness can be improved or leveraged.
- Have questions for the interviewers written down, and take notes as others come up in the conversation.
Of course, don’t be reading something you’ve written already – they’ll know you sound rehearsed. Bullet points will keep you on track.
2. Get dressed up. Okay, you don’t have to go all out business attire, but if you’re at home, wear something nice that will put you in the “work” mindset and keep you feeling sharp.
3. Just because they can’t see it doesn’t mean they can’t hear it. Don’t be eating, chewing gum, or smoking while you’re on the phone. It’s fine to have a glass of water around just like you would in a normal interview.
4. Find a quiet place. You wouldn’t believe how many people having yelling kids, barking dogs, nearby traffic and other distractions around when they’re doing phone interviews. Not only will these be a distraction to your train of thought and presentation, but they could make you feel apologetic or embarrassed to the interviewer, which isn’t a psychological place you want to be in when you’re selling yourself.
5. Enunciate and speak deliberately. Because you can’t read the interviewers’ facial expressions, it’s easy to start doubting whether they’re still with you and to speed up your answers. Take your time, be deliberate, and finish each thought.
6. Make sure you have phone service, or use a landline. With most people speaking on cell phones, calls can drop easily – creating an awkward break in the conversation and more uncertainty. If you are having trouble hearing the interviewer, tell them – there’s no point in going through an interview where you can’t understand what they’re asking just because you feel embarrassed to call it out.
7. Get follow up contact information. You’ll want to send a thank you note, so be sure you have an email address of whoever you spoke with.
Any other advice? Feel free to share it in the comments section!