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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Preparing for the phone interview

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:

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