How to Ace a Phone Interview

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The interview process is nothing new to me - I have interviewed for three different jobs in the past and even though I would always walk in nervous and antsy, I would leave the building confident that I had impressed the interviewer. I guess you could say I just have a lot of faith in my social skills and my ability to answer questions well enough to a point where I know I have grasped the interviewer's attention. But today I faced a type of interview that I have never experienced before: a telephone interview. And while I believe I am partially skilled when it comes to the whole one-one-one in-person type of interview, I was completely clueless when it came to trying to impress someone over the phone. But after a bit of research before the dreaded call and a brief reflection afterward of how I felt I did, I decided to compile and present to you all what I believe to be the best tips to acing a phone interview...

1. Schedule Your Interview Accordingly
This is probably the most obvious tip in the book, but you would actually be surprised how often people skip past this important piece of advice. You should NEVER schedule an interview at a time when you know you will be busy - you can try to hide it all you want, but the other side of that telephone call is pure silence. That interviewer will be able to hear every little thing you are doing, whether you are simply eating some food or trying to type up a document for work. This will give off the message that you simply have better things to be doing and they will scratch your name right off the list.

2. Review the Position/Company
Make sure you remember exactly what job it is you want to fill and that you have a basic knowledge of the company you applied at. It is possible to forget valuable information in-between when you applied and when you finally got that interview. And just because the interview is over the phone (thus meaning it may be shorter) does not mean that you should not expect a possible fact question thrown in there.

3. Practice Your Answers and Limit Your Responses
Phone interviews are meant to be a little more brief than in-person interviews. Have the answers you would give for any basic interview questions ready to go before that phone call, such as "What is your greatest strength/weakness and what have you done lately to improve upon it?". No answer should be longer than about 30 seconds, and it should only be that long if you are explaining an answer on a more in-depth level. Additionally, do not forget to cut to the chase; straying your answers from the question at hand will cause the interviewer to lose interest.

4. Prepare Your Surroundings
Decide where you want to be when you get that phone call ahead of time and make everyone that you know may possibly be in the area aware that you have an important interview and they will need to respect that by keeping quiet and/or away for a few minutes. Be sure it is an area that you will be comfortable in and that you will have complete silence to think, hear, and be heard. Also, when the time comes, be sure to have all distractions such as cell phone notifications or televisions turned off.

5. Review/Have Out Your Documents
It is completely okay to have your resume or any other necessary documents spread out in front of you throughout the interview. Having these out can help you to better consider some of your answers and provide you with the safety feeling of knowing that if you possibly think you are forgetting a significant detail, you can look down quickly and suddenly remember what it was.

6. Take the Time to Consider Your Answers
The interviewer is not expecting you to answer right away. They know you need time to think about what you would like to say. Obviously you should not take too long to give an answer back (I would say do not take longer than 10 seconds at most), but do not stress too much when there are those brief pauses.

7. Stay Enthusiastic!
People have a tendency to think that because the interview is over the phone, how you sound will not matter. It indeed DOES matter. You still need to sound as positive as you would have had the interview been in-person. Speak with a happy tone and make the interviewer want to contact you again - this time to actually meet you in person.

Hopefully these tips can aid you in the future if you ever come across having to undergo an interview over the phone, some of these tips could actually apply for just about any type of interview really. Do you have a tip you did not see listed here? Leave a comment below and share your knowledge with all of us - the more advice, the better. Good luck to anyone who has an interview happening soon!

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