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Come Out on Top after a Phone Interview

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Summary: Phone interviews can be tricky because you have to rely on other parts of yourself to show your qualifications. Follow these tips to excel in your next phone interview.

No one enjoys relying on their voice and word choice to sell themselves as a qualified candidate for a job, but sometimes it is necessary. Use these 16 tips to make the most of the experience so that you can move forward in the interviewing process to the face-to-face interview.

Read Tips to Make Your Next Phone Interview Go Smoothly to learn more.

Turn to the radio: Take some tips from listening to the radio. Phone interviews will rely on your voice to tell the story, so take note of how radio hosts use their voice to create mental pictures for listeners.

Dress-up: Even though the interview is over the phone, you will feel more prepared and professional if you are dressed professionally. Pretend like you are meeting the manager in person.

Sit down: You will be more calm and collected if you are sitting at a desk or table compared to standing and walking around. Find a picture of the person you are interviewing with if possible to look at. It puts it into perspective better. Do not look into a mirror during the interview. You will get focused on how you look and talk instead of what you are saying.

Remove interruptions: You may enjoy having background noise, but during an interview it is not a good choice. Turn off the TV, close your windows, and get a babysitter for your dog or children.

Landline phones: While it may be inconvenient to find an old school landline phone, eliminating the chance of bad reception or dropping the call is worth it. Visit your parents to take the interview or find another place where you can use one.

Greet them: Immediately start off with a “hello”, not a “hey” or “hi.” The more formal greeting is more professional and will get the interview rolling on the right note.

Filler words: Watch what you are saying even outside the interview to get rid of the wasted filler words like yup, like, you know, and ummm.

Research: You need to do more research into the company to learn what you can about their culture and values. It is harder to show that you are a good fit just over the phone, so you need to have the background on the company to use. The number one reason that hiring managers reject a phone interview candidate is the lack of being able to see that candidate as a good fit with the company.

Cheat sheet: There is a big bonus to phone interviews – you can write things down without them seeing. Take notes to use later in the interview and in your follow-up thank you note.

First impression: The first impression the hiring manager gets from their conversation with you will play into whether or not you get a job offer. Make the first minute count. Find a connection with the hiring manager right off the bat before you get into the nitty gritty details of the interview. Perhaps their phone number area code relates to where you went to school, traveled this summer, etc.

See The Top 4 Ways to Make a Good First Impression at an Interview: The Definitive Guide to learn more.

Nice people: There is something in the voice of those that are all-around nice people. Volunteering, doing something nice for someone else, and other ways of helping will resonate through your voice.

Hard to get: Don’t make it obvious to the hiring manager that you are desperate for the job and have no life. When setting up the interview, don’t immediately jump at the first day and time offered. Also, when the phone rings for the interview, let it ring once or twice before picking up.

Three-second rule: After the interviewer asks you a question, pause for three-seconds before responding. It gives you time to collect your thoughts and shows that you are listening rather than pouncing to give a reply. You never want to accidentally speak over the interviewer.

Feelings: Say how excited you are about the position. Your language and tone of voice will help, but unlike in a face-to-face interview where your facial cues and body language show your excitement, you need to come right out and explain your passion for the job.

Strong finish: Conclude the interview by thanking them for the time and consideration. Ask what the next steps to the process will be. Remind them how excited you are about the position and explain why you are a good fit. They will remember the first moments of the discussion and the end the most, so make it count.

Follow-up: A day or two later, send an email reiterating your excitement in the position and why you will help the company succeed. Another day later, send a thank-you note in the mail including points from your notes to make things more personal. You want to keep them focused on you as they continue to interview other candidates.

Read Don’t Forget to Send a Thank You Letter to learn more.


Come Out on Top after a Phone Interview by
Authored by: Amanda Griffin