Phone interviews are my favorite part of the application process. They’re more personal and engaging than your résumé, but less intimidating than an in-person interview. You can wear whatever you want to a phone interview, and conduct it wherever you please (I would recommend pajamas, and a quiet area away from distractions, respectively). You can’t get too comfortable though, phone interviews are meant to be a test of your communication skills and often lead to an in-person interview (and an offer). Here are a few ways to maximize your phone interview:
-Give it the same respect as an in-person interview. I know I just said you can wear pajamas, and you can, but you still need to prepare for a phone interview. This is not just a casual conversation. It’s a pointed discussion and the interviewer is looking for key words and responses just as they would if you were talking face to face
-Following point one, have a few notes prepared on points you’d like to make. Most of the time, phone interviews are led by behavioral questions like, “tell me about a time when”… Make sure you have a thought out an answer to these questions in advance. No one wants to sit on the phone listening to you think
-Following point two, keep your notes handy but do not read a script. Phone interviews are all about the art of the unscripted script. Yes you want to sound polished and intelligent, but not like you’re reading a piece of paper with pre-written answers
-Don’t ramble. One advantage for the phone interviewer is that you can’t see them rolling their eyes, putting the phone down on speaker, or responding to emails while you’re deep in a story from your yonder years. Keep your answers thorough but concise. Talk about things you did, why you did them and what the result was. Don’t give the interviewer a reason to ignore you
-At the end, have a question or two prepared for the interviewer. They just spent the last hour or so listening to you go on and on, so give them a chance to participate in the conversation. Make sure before hanging up you are clear on the next steps. A phone interview is usually never the last step in the process
Phone interviews can be a really great opportunity for you to establish a relationship with a recruiter without the pressure of appearances, hand gestures and eye contact. Make the most of it and be sure to use it as a springboard for what’s to come in the interview process.
For more information and guidance in your own job search, visit my coaching site: morethanadiploma.com.