How to Ace a Phone Interview - Etiquette & Tips

Mayank Kumar
Written by Mayank Kumar

Posted On: Nov 21, 2018

 

Whether you’re applying for a telecommuting job, a job for home, or it’s just a precursor to the in-person interview, a phone interview can make a big impact on whether you’ll be on the long or shortlist for the job you want.

However, there’s a lot of pressure that goes along with performing over the phone – you need to get your personality and professionalism across in a short amount of time without your interviewers even seeing what you look like in person. Add that in with inevitable distractions that come from being at home, and it may seem like acing a phone interview can be an impossible feat. But, don’t worry! There are ways to showcase your resume while staying focused on the phone.

Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll find yourself on the short list for sure.

Turn off all distractions:

Yes, all of them, even your computer – print out a copy of your resume so that your interviewers can’t hear you clicking on your keyboard in the background, which sounds unprofessional. The television (in all rooms) should be off. The door where you are should be closed, and you should remind all of the people in your household that you are on a very important phone call. Have a dog that barks? Ask a good friend if they can look after her during the duration of your interview, or if your living arrangements allow it, leave her outside in the yard.

Dress for success:

It may seem counter-intuitive, but you should dress for the job you want, even if you’re just interviewing over the phone. Wearing a professional outfit (or at least, something other than your pajamas), will give you confidence that sweatpants just won't be able to give. Don’t skip on your makeup, and even put on that you’ve been saving for a job interview. This one is just as legitimate as the next; acting like it can help you feel professional, making you sound professional over the phone.

Give it time:

It may be tempting to squeeze in your job interview during your lunch break at work, but you don’t want to have to cut the interview short, especially if it’s going well. Most phone interviews last 20-30 minutes, but the longer it’s going, the better you’re doing. Make sure you leave enough time for your phone call so you won’t have to leave any questions unanswered.

Also, Read: 10 Telephonic Interview Tips for Freshers

Stand up:

You want to give all of your focus to the job interview, but lounging on the couch will give you a laid-back attitude that won’t be conducive to getting the job. When you stand, your voice changes and you command more attention. If you’re interviewing in a sea of other applicants, you want to stand out, which can be more challenging over the phone. Standing can help you harness that inner power and translate it to your voice over the phone.

Smile:

Have you ever been on the phone with someone and "heard" their smile through the static? When you smile, it comes through your voice, which will show your interviewers that you are enthusiastic and excited to interview for this job. That being said, don’t go overboard with the enthusiasm – your interviewers want to hire a real person, not a robot.

Listen intently:

Since you don’t have cues like body language to hint where the interview is going, your listening skills become paramount in a phone interview. Make sure you understand all of the questions before you answer them, and don’t be afraid to ask questions, like you would in a regular interview, about the employee culture and job requirements.

Say "Thank You" Right Away:

Sending a thank you note or email can make a huge impact on whether you’ll be receiving a return phone call or invitation into the office. Since there’s no commute after a phone interview, you should send an email immediately thanking your interviewer for taking the time out of his or her day to speak with you. This also opens the lines of communication with your interviewer, and you can sign off saying something like, "I’d really love the opportunity to share some more of my ideas and thoughts with you in person."

Acing a phone interview can be daunting, but keeping these tips in mind can help ensure that you show off your strengths and personality, leading to an in-person meeting, and ultimately, a career.

 

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