How to Have to Successful Phone Interview

When you’re job searching, you should be prepared for a potential phone interview. Employers often use phone interviews to discuss the job with a prospective employee, determine if the candidate is a good fit, and narrow down the pool of applicants to be invited for in-person interviews. If you do get asked to do a phone interview, here are some tips to help you do well.

Dress for the interview.

Experts say if you’re dressed in a professional manner, you’ll speak that way.

Create a comfortable environment.

Many interviewers say they can hear almost everything in the candidate’s background during a phone interview. So, be sure to shut out distractions and eliminate background noise (e.g. loud appliances, young children, pets). Have a glass of water handy in case you get a dry throat or cough, too.

Be prepared.

Print out your résumé and highlight the points you want to talk about in your conversation. If you are talking on a landline, turn off your cell phone; if you are talking on a cell phone, make sure it is fully charged. Have a pen and paper handy so you don’t have to take notes on your computer during the call.

Be professional.

Make sure that you get the employer’s direct phone number right away. That way, in case you are disconnected for some reason, you can call back promptly. If there is more than one person interviewing you, jot down their names as they introduce themselves so you can address them by name if you have a question or comment.

Don’t multitask.

It is often tempting to do other things while we’re on the phone, but during a phone interview, this is a no-no. “My number one pet peeve is people who decide to multitask while on the phone interview,” says Dan Krupansky, a talent acquisition manager at PrimePay, in an interview with job search and recruiting site, Glassdoor. “I have heard candidates washing dishes, making lunch in the microwave, going for walks, letting their dog out, and grocery shopping during the interview. I even had one person use the bathroom and flush the toilet while speaking with me.” Suffice to say your whole attention should be on your conversation with the interviewer.

Know what to say and what not to say.

Employers use phone interviews to get to know the candidate’s professional experience, so it isn’t a good idea to start talking about your personal life (unless, of course, you’re asked directly). It’s also important to answer the interviewer’s questions clearly and concisely. Practice answering questions beforehand so you know how to respond without rambling on. Similarly, try not to say “um,” “uh,” or “like.” These are more noticeable when speaking on the phone. Glassdoor spoke with Chris Dardis of Versique Executive Search, who said, “In face-to-face interviews, they’re not as noticeable because there are other things like your hair, suit, or body language to distract people.” So, in a phone interview, you should be aware of what you say and how you say it.

Remember to ask questions.

At the end of a phone interview, many candidates think they don’t need to ask questions because it is more informal. This isn’t true; treat a phone interview like an in-person interview and always ask questions. It shows potential employers you are interested in the company and the job.

For more tips, advice, and how-tos on finding, applying for, and landing the perfect job, visit the Excelsior College Career Center.