In your job search, expect to get notified or surprise phone calls inquiring if you are available to talk about the job. Many companies are going for this method to check if a candidate is fit and interested in the job position on offer.
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Why do companies use phone interviews?
Employers use phone interviews to identify and recruit candidates to employ. It helps employers narrow the pool of applicants to be invited for in-person interviews. Phone interviews minimize the cost for out-of-town candidates and a good option for remote positions.
How to ace a phone interview
Use these phone tips before your phone interview, and you will surely pass for the next stage:
Remember that passing a phone interview will get you to an in-person interview. Compile a list of your strengths and weaknesses, list of typical phone interview questions, and a list of questions to ask the interviewer.
Those who get an early notice can compile a little research on the company. Read all the job descriptions and match them to your qualifications to help you speak as a strong candidate fit for that position. Update your resume and remember the dates of the days you were previously working.
Be confident when discussing your skills and background over the phone. Have a copy of your resume at hand for quick referencing.
Conduct a mock interview with someone and record it. That will help you pinpoint areas that must be improved. Many people face many verbal ticks or speak too fast or too slow.
Proper phone interview etiquette
The following guidelines will help you get the best impression on the interviewer.
- Answer the phone yourself – let everyone know you are expecting a call. Once it comes in, pick up the phone and respond with a perky tone to confirm they have reached the right person.
- Listen carefully to the interviewer – don’t interrupt the interviewer. Wait until it is your turn to speak. Write ideas that come along the way on a paper and mention them later when it is your turn.
- Take some seconds to think and respond – take a few seconds to think. Not too much. Ask the interviewer to repeat the question if you did not get it.
Phone interview tips
Follow these tips to get a successful interview over the phone:
- Create a checklist – review the job and list your qualifications to see if they match the hiring criteria. Have a glance at your list during the interview.
- Have your resume with you – have it on your desk to help you answer all questions quickly.
- Take notes during the interview – have a pen and paper.
- Avoid interruptions – turn off call-waiting to avoid interruptions.
- Reschedule if need be – request the interview another time if you could not talk at the suggested time.
- Clear the room – turn off electronics and evict kids and pets from the room.
- Use a landline – landline has a strong reception and no dropped calls.
- Find a good location – find a phone with strong reception and a noise-free area.
- Stalk your interviewer on LinkedIn – find out what your interviewer has been up to, where they schooled, their past jobs, common interests, etc. They might appreciate that you took the time to know more about them.
- Use headphones – Headphones will cut off background noise and help the interviewer hear you better.
- Write a follow-up thank you email – You must thank your interviewer for their time. Compose a thank you email and send it a few hours after you have been called.
- Don’t phone it in – you must treat the phone interview with the seriousness of an in-person interview.
The Do’s and Don’ts during a phone interview
- Use the person’s title (Mr. or Ms. + last name)
- Don‘t eat, smoke, chew gum, or eat during the phone interview.
- Have a glass of water with you to help clear your throat.
- Smile to change the tone and bring out positivity to be felt by the interviewer.
- Listen carefully, ask for clarification, and speak slowly, carefully, and clearly.
- Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
- Take your time to collect your thoughts.
- Take notes to remember what you discussed during the interview.
- Give short answers and stay focused to answer the questions asked.
- Have a few questions to ask the interviewer in advance.
- Thank the interviewer at the end of the interview and inquire if it would be possible to meet in person.
Follow-up after the interview
In the end, thank the interviewer. Request them to give you their email address if you don’t have it. Email a thank you note immediately and also highlight some of your qualifications you never had a chance to tell during the interview.
After the call is over, go through the notes you wrote during the conversation. That prepares you in case you qualify for an in-person interview.