Hitting a Home Run with Phone Interviews

After you’ve applied for a job with a particular company and they’ve had the opportunity to sift through your qualifications and matched them with their expectations for the position, it is now time for the interview process to begin.  Generally speaking, the interviewing process goes through several phases, beginning with the phone interview.  Although these conversations can seem deceptively informal, it is important to remember that you are being evaluated by the interviewer from the time that you answer the phone (possibly even before you pick up), and that everything that you say will be counted toward whether or not you’re selected for a follow up (in person) interview.

But, you know, no pressure or anything.

Here are a few tips to help you score big on your next phone interview, so that you can make it to the next step of securing the job of your dreams:

  1. – Be Prepared

This may sound a bit silly, and maybe it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway:  this is a job interview, and you should be prepared for it the same way that you would be prepared for an in-person interview.

That means making sure that you’re up to date on company information, you’re familiar with the job description, and you can speak to how your skills and experience meet and exceed the desired qualifications outlined therein. You should also make sure that the interviewer has an up to date copy of your resume, just as you would with an in-person interviewer.

  1. – Smile!

This is one of those easy wins for phone interviews.  In a traditional interview setting, you would need to be aware of your body language, posture, etc.  In a phone interview, the interviewer can’t see you, so you don’t need to worry about all of that.  One thing an interviewer can tell via the phone, though, is whether or not you’re smiling.

Smiling while on the phone adds a friendly and affable quality to your voice, and makes it more inviting for others to talk to you.  It truly is something that you can hear through the phone, so in order to ensure that you’re making a good impression, be sure to smile through you interview, even if you’re nervous!

  1. – Don’t speak in jargon

This is a general rule for all interviews, but especially for phone interviews.  Using industry specific jargon doesn’t make you sound like an expert in a field – it makes you sound like someone who googled a bunch of words so that you could sound smart while talking to a company representative.  Avoid it as much as possible, and opt for authentic, explanatory language instead.

  1. – Be professional and gracious

Again, it is critical to remember, even though this is a less formal version of an interview, it is still in fact an interview.  Be professional in both your tone and the language that you use.  Be sure to thank the interviewer for their time, and to follow up with a thank you email or note once the interview is over.  It could mean the difference in being invited back for a second chance with an in-person interviewer.

  1. – Ask for the next step

It is appropriate (and encouraged) to ask what your expectations should be following a phone interview.  Ask about their timelines with regard to decision-making, and whether or not they need anything additional from you at this stage.  You want to be sure that you’ve supplied them with everything that they need in order to make an informed decision about who you are and how well they can expect you to fit into their team dynamic, but you also don’t want to come on too strong by overwhelming them with unsolicited artifacts.  Asking shows engagement on your behalf, and also prevents you from being too aggressive.


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