Phone Interviews: How to Prepare


Sometimes a face to face job interview will require some travel due to the location of the job. When this situation arises many employers will prefer an initial phone interview prior to requesting an on site interview. This saves both the candidate and the company time and travel expense if you realize that this position is not going to be the right match. It also gives you an excellent opportunity to sell your skills and abilities and land the face to face interview.

If this is an opportunity that you would like to pursue you do not want to underestimate the importance of the phone interview. It will be the stepping stone to get you to the next stage. Just because it is on the phone does not mean it is informal and you don’t need to prepare. The opposite holds true it can be more challenging and also a great opportunity. If you prepare better than other candidates it will be you who ends up at the next interview.

Setting up the phone interview is important. Work with the recruitment consultant to arrange a time and date when you and the employer can be available and make sure you have all the details.

    • Ensure that you are in a private, quiet location with no distractions
    • Avoid the use of cell phones. The reception on cell phones can be unreliable. You may not realize that the interviewer can not hear you properly, and you do not want to be asking them to repeat questions. Find a landline if at all possible.
  • Call in at the arranged time. As with a face to face interview, be punctual.

Research the company and position before the call and ensure you have your notes as well as your resume in front of you. Ensure you have a pen handy and a piece of paper as you can make any notes for questions you might have for the end of the interview.

Another thing you should have in front of you is a calendar. The employer may want to set up the second interview and you will want to have your schedule and available dates at your fingertips.

Phone interviews can be challenging because you do not have a face to face connection with the person asking you the questions. You will need to rely on your voice and ability to communicate effectively to succeed in this format. Some pointers that will help your presentation:

    • Smile. As corny as that sounds a smile comes through in your voice. This will help make a positive impression.
    • Pronunciation. Make sure you are speaking clearly and loudly. A quiet talker who mumbles is not going to make a good impression even if the answers are satisfactory.
    • If you find you present better when you stand up, go ahead and stand while you talk.
  • Turn off any distracting electronics such as cell phones, televisions or radios. You will need to give your full attention to the interviewer.

Give the interviewer your undivided attention and pay attention to your tone at all times. A positive clear speaking voice will be your most important asset.

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