The goal of a phone interview is to impress the employer enough that they would want to meet you for a face-to-face interview. While this is an interview and should be treated with importance, it is not the time to go into full depth of your qualifications and experience, but it is the time to be concise and sell the most important parts about you. Failing to prepare for the phone interview could disqualify you from a second interview, and the position.
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How to Prepare for Your Phone Interview
Follow this check list to help prepare before for your phone conversation:
- Clear the room, and prepare a quiet spot to conduct the interview.
- Pull up company’s website and make sure to know about them, keep the site up during the interview if able.
- Keep your resume in clear sight, so you can refer to it when needed.
- Have a copy of the job description, and highlight the key points and requirements.
- Write out a list of strengths and weaknesses, as well as the key points from the job description.
- Have a list of your accomplishments.
- Have a pen and paper ready for notes.
- Try to use a landline rather than a cell phone.
- If no landline is available, MAKE SURE to be in a spot with good service.
Before your interview also make sure to practice some of what you are planning to say. While practice is good, make sure not to script out each answer. Having genuine answers will help you stand out during the interview, which in turn could land you the job.
During the interview, make sure to follow these suggestions:
- Be ready and available to take the phone call and ensure you have enough time available in case the call runs longer than expected.
- Get straight to the point. Phone interviews are typically quick screens, so be sure to state the facts quickly and highlight the things that can really show that you would be an asset.
- Smile while you talk.
- Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
- Take your time, if you need a moment to collect your thoughts let the interviewer know.
- Treat this as a face-to-face interview.
- Handle it professionally.
- Ask questions! Employers like this and it can help them clearly see if this would be a good candidate/job fit.
- Keep a glass of water handy.
- Use the persons title (Mr. or Ms. And their last name). Only use first name if they ask you to.
Make sure you DON’T do these during your phone interview:
- Miss the phone call, especially if it was scheduled
- Don’t type questions into Google, or any other search engine. The employers can hear you typing!
- Don’t ask what the salary range of the job is in the beginning of the interview.
- Take the call in a restroom.
- Take a call while driving or outside.
- Don’t chew gum, smoke, eat or drink.
- Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
- Ramble about things that are irrelevant. The screen was meant to cut down interviewing time so don’t make it longer than it has to be.
- Ask the employer which position it is that you are interviewing for. When they first call it is alright to ask which company they are calling from, but from there you should remember which position you applied for. Make sure to keep track of the companies you have sent your resume and applications to.
- Have unprofessional ringtones or voicemails. That is a huge turn off and could cause the employer to question your level of professionalism.
- Come off as passive. Be enthusiastic about this job. Make sure the employer remembers you and your optimism.
A few tips of things to keep in mind:
- Remember to say “thank you.” And follow up after the interview with a thank you letter.
- Ask them questions about what the next step for you would be.
- Make sure to take notes on what you were asked and how you answered.