10 Tips to Ace the Phone Interview

Posted: April 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Acing the Interview, Interview Tips, Phone Interviews | Comments Off on 10 Tips to Ace the Phone Interview

The dreaded phone interview has become a regular part of today’s hiring process. Why? Employers have quite a few reasons why the do phone interviews, here are a few:

  1. Efficient Use of Time – 15 to 30 minutes per candidate vs. 60 minutes for face-to-face
  2. Fiscally Responsibly – interview out-of-town candidates without travel costs
  3. Highly Effective – screen candidates that are “maybes” and move them to “yes” or “no” status quickly

While these benefits are nice for prospective employers, the phone interview can cause anxiety for many candidates. If you have a phone interview coming up, use these 10 Tips to Ace the Phone Interview:

  1. Prepare.
    Do the same preparation and research the company just as you would if it were a normal, face-to-face interview at the company.

  2. Avoid distraction.
    Keep yourself free of any other distractions during the entire interview. Turn off email, your laptop, get a sitter for the kids, etc. Focus entirely on the interview and the interview alone.
  3. Quiet is key.
    Take the phone call in a quiet location such as a private office or conference room. There’s nothing more distraction than being in an interview and having background noise – for either party.
  4. Take Notes.
    Keep a notepad and pen with you during the interview and take notes on questions, answers, job description, follow-up interview dates/times, etc.
  5. Have Your Calendar Handy.
    Imagine the best case scenario – you’re asked to come for an in-person interview next week. Great news….if you have your calendar and can schedule it right away!
  6. Ask Questions.
    It’s a sign of a smart candidate when they prepare with questions. It’s also a reason to bring you in for further interviews – to answer your questions. Prepare a list of 3 to 5 relevant, company-specific, position-specific questions to ask the interviewer.
  7. Respect The Time.
    Your interviewer likely has quite a few phone interviews scheduled. If your time is nearing an end and you have questions to ask simply mention that you’d like to ask a few questions and that you also want to respect his/her time; allow them to take the lead.
  8. Dress Nicely.
    Studies prove that if you dress nicely, you feel better. Don’t believe me? Google it. Dress nicely like you would if you were meeting for an in-person interview. Afraid it will call attention at your casual office? Put on a blazer and dress shirt with your jeans. There’s always a way to kick it up a notch so you feel more professional – it will show in your voice.
  9. Smile, Smile, Smile.
    One of the oldest ‘tricks’ in the book is to smile. Any good salesperson will tell you that you can hear a smile on the other side of the phone – think of the last conversation you had with your best friend – can you tell if they’re smiling or sad? Gotchya. Remember to smile; people like to hire happy, positive, smiling employees.
  10. Send a Thank You Note.
    This is the #1 thing candidates forget to do with phone interviews. Whenever you interview, phone or in-person, send a thank you note. It’s a simple touch that goes a long way. Yes, email is fine. Handwritten is much better.

Pick up the phone, call your best friend and test out #9. It’s always nice to say “Hi” to a good friend anyway.

Go land that job and kick ass in your interview!


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