Phone interviews sound great, right? No commuting, no fancy outfit, sweaty palms, or done up hair– sounds perfect!
Well, not quite. As easy as they may seem, phone interviews should be taken just as seriously, if not more seriously, as an in-person interview.
In a digital world, phone interviews are increasing in popularity and oftentimes are a primary interview option for first or final job interviews. This style of interviewing can be used to rule you in or out quickly in a hiring process, so what does it take to prepare for this new age way of employment screening? Fortunately, most of the standard interview rules apply to phone interviews! With awareness and the right tools you can be equally prepared.
1. Do your research
Before you take the interview you will need to prepare. Take some time to do research on the company and the hiring manager– know your audience before you get on the phone. Research will allow you to think about your connection to the company, the hiring manager, and the job. It gives you an opportunity to prepare some example answers, and tailor your thoughts to the position. Tailoring your answers will help you to stand out against the competition through a sea of general interview questions everyone is asked. This can help spark chemistry, invite conversation, and pave the way for a memorable experience.
2. Make a good impression
Treat your phone interview the same as an in-person interview–that means, get ready! Dress up for your interview, physically prepare as if you were meeting this manager in person. Because you don’t have the opportunity to make a physical connection, which is an opportunity to build chemistry with your interviewer, you will need to work even harder to make sure that you are coming off as the perfect candidate for the job. Never underestimate the power of a first impression, and this sort of tangible preparation will help you make a good one.
3. Physically prepare
Preparing physically for your interview also prepares you mentally. Warm up your vocal cords and move around; sitting at a desk or a table rather than laying on a couch is always a good idea. Your voice should project and hold energy throughout the interview. Physical preparation makes a difference in your delivery, confidence, and overall presentation, which will help you to get in the right mindset to land the job.
4. Remove distractions
Make sure you are in a calm, quiet, uninterrupted place with no music, tv, or computers to distract you! People can tell if you are distracted on the phone. Being clear, concise, and to the point with no delay will give off the best impression.
Make sure that you have uninterrupted time scheduled for your interview. You don’t want to rush or be distracted by the appointment you are running late for. Plan ahead and make time.
Make sure you have all of the materials you will need near you, so you are not scrambling to locate items during your interview. This will likely include the job description, a pen and paper, your resume, and perhaps a glass of water.
5. Listen and slow down
NEVER cut off your interviewer. Let them finish their sentences, thoughts, and ideas. If they say something and you have a thought that you want to chime in with, write it down, and then circle back around when they are finished.
When responding, be thoughtful and clear- breathe. Keep a consistent pace and energy throughout your interview, especially if it is a longer, more thorough interview. Use clear and professional language. Minimize the umm’s, cuz’s, ya know’s, and other slang terms. Enunciate and have enthusiasm when you speak!
6. Use a mirror
Yep, that’s right! As awkward as it may feel, set a mirror up in front of you while you interview. On the phone, you are more likely to forget what you are doing with your face and hands, because you don’t have someone in front of you monitoring those actions. Knowing what your face is doing and how you are presenting yourself will make a difference to the person on the other line.
Remember to smile! This is important! Energy CAN be felt through the phone, and your interviewer can hear a smile and sense your mood. You want this job, so smile and make the manager feel that!
7. Follow Up
Whether you have an in-person interview or a phone interview, sending a handwritten “Thank You” note to your interviewer is always a good way to conclude your interaction. It will place you back in the forefront of your interviewer’s mind. No emails, though! Handwritten “Thank You” cards are the key to standing out in the digital age!
If you can remember to treat phone interviews as you would treat an in-person interview you will be successful! Bring your A-game, do your research, and have confidence; Remember to breathe and you will be on your way to landing the job of your dreams!