If you’ve never had a phone interview in the past, get ready, because they’re in full force and they’re heading your way. Phone interviews have become the new way to screen applicants before an in-person interview. They’re becoming more and more popular as the job market becomes global, and considering the time and money saved by making a mere phone call to a candidate, phone interviews are the way to go.
Though you may think phone interviews are informal and a little more relaxed, think again. The phone interviewer is probably your first human contact with the recruiter, you’ll want to be prepared and make the very best first impression.
Preparing for the phone interview
Relax. Take a deep breath. You’ve got this. Just like a face to face interview, study the company; know what they’re about, their mission and their expectations. It’s also important to make sure your experience and career goals are a match for the position; think of it as a relationship, you want to find out just as much about the company as they do about you. Hey, you’re both looking for the perfect fit here!
The handy thing about a phone interview is that you can have your notes and research about the company in front of you during the interview! Review common interview questions, you know the ones I’m talking about; What are your greatest strengths? Weaknesses? Tell me about a time where you overcame adversity. What has been your biggest achievement? Write these down and have them in front of you during the call! To decrease the sound of rustling papers, try taping your notes to the wall in front of you or the desk where you’ll be sitting.
Along with these notes, have your CV nearby. Having a list of your greatest achievements is also good to have at hand.
During the interview
You’ve scheduled the call for 9 o’clock on a Tuesday morning. Set your alarm for at least an hour and a half before. My advice? Take a shower, have a hearty breakfast and a cup of tea or coffee, breathe, go over your notes from the days before, breathe again. It may be tempting to slip back into your pyjamas, but don’t! Instead, dress like you would for an in person interview. I promise you: if you look the part, you’ll feel the part.
If you have a landline, use that instead of your mobile phone. Make sure all other mobile devices are on silent mode and all other background noises are muted. Your environment is important. Sit at a clean desk, ready with your taped notes, a pen and paper.
When the phone rings, smile when you answer! It may sound silly, but your posture and facial expressions come across on the phone. Try it out! Saying hello with a frown on your face sounds a lot more monotonous than saying the same with a smile. The recruiter is trained and he or she will pick up on this! Remember, first impressions last longer than anything else that may happen after; be your best you.
You’ve got your notes in front of you and just in case a surprise question throws you off, don’t worry, you’ve done your research and you’ll know how to respond. Write down anything of interest the recruiter may tell you about the job or the company and be sure to get their name! Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Remember, you want to know just as much about the company as they want to know about you. If you’re interested in the position at the end of the interview, ask if you’d be a good fit in the company and when an in person interview could be arranged. Don’t forget to thank the interviewer for their time! Your politeness and manners will certainly be remembered!
After the interview
When you hang up the phone, review your notes. After interviews, I like jotting down a few points; things I felt I did well and things I could work on. This way, for future interviews I’ll be better prepared.
Don’t let more than two days pass without sending a quick thank you E-mail to your interviewer. Show your enthusiasm in the position by adding a sentence or two about what stood out to you about the job title or company.