Some employers choose to prescreen job applicants over the phone before doing an in-person interview. If you're selected for a phone interview, prepare for a phone interview just as carefully as you would for a regular interview.
Prepare for a Phone Interview
Research the job and the company so you are prepared to discuss the company and your role if you were to be hired.
Confirm the Interview
Before the call, confirm all the details including the date, time and who you will be talking to. Be sure you know whether the interviewer is calling you or if you need to make the call.
Choose an Interview Space
Use a quiet, comfortable, and private space. If you're at home, kick out kids, spouses, significant others, parents, pets and anyone else who is in the house and close the door.
Have your resume in clear view taped to the wall or on your desk. Also, have a short list of your qualifications and skills specific to the job you're interviewing for close at hand. A "cheat sheet" will help you respond to related questions without fumbling for words.
Have a pad and pen ready to jot down notes. Turn call waiting off on your phone and be sure to use a landline, not a cell phone, whenever possible. You don't want to have to worry about dropped calls.
Use Proper Phone Interview Etiquette
Answer the phone yourself, let family members and/or roommates know you are expecting a call. When you answer the phone, answer with your name i.e. Jane Doe (in a perky tone of voice) so the interviewer knows they have reached the right person.
Use the interviewer's title during the conversation (Mr. or Ms. and their last name.). Only use a first name if they ask you to. Otherwise, use the formal title.
Listen to the interviewer and don't interrupt. If you have something you want to say, jot it down on your note pad and mention it when it's your turn to talk.
If you need a few seconds to gather your thoughts, don't worry, but don't leave too much dead air. If you need the interviewer to repeat the question, ask.
Polish Up Your Telephone Communication Skills
During the phone interview, you'll need to sound as professional as you would if you were meeting the interviewer face to face:
- Don't chew gum or eat while you're on the phone.
- Have a glass of water close by, in case you need a sip or two during the conversation.
- Standing up is an option to consider. Sometimes you can focus better when you're standing.
- Be sure to smile. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice.
- Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
- Don't ramble on so the interviewer can't interject or ask more questions.
Send a Thank You Note
At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer and ask what the next step in the process will be. Ask for the interviewer's email address and send out an email thank you note immediately, thanking the interviewer and reiterating your interest in the job. It's important to show your appreciation for the interview regardless of how the interview was conducted.
Phone Interview Articles and Advice