7 Tips to Ace a Phone Interview

Phone interview
Written by Richard White

How do you succeed in a phone interview? When you go for a face-to-face interview, the recruiter has the opportunity to see and hear you. In a phone interview, the only thing that the recruiter has is your voice to create a mental image of you as a candidate. Phone interviews are, therefore, a little limited in scope.

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It is possible to ace a phone interview; you just need to prepare for it. The key to success is the way you prepare for the call. Here are a few tips that could help you get ready for the phone interview in a way that ensures success.

Phone interview

Do not ‘Google’ information during the interview

Before the Interview

1. Create a folder with all details. Suppose you have applied to five companies. Imagine Company A calls you up for an interview and you simply forget their details. All you can remember is the details of Company B. It would only end in failure.

Your first task is to prepare a folder with all details of the companies you have applied to, as well as your resume and cover letter. You also need to keep a notepad and pen handy; you may need to note down things during the course of the interview.

2. Prepare your answers. Phone interviews often include questions about the candidate’s credentials, experience, specialties, strengths and weaknesses. This initial screening is necessary to evaluate whether the candidate is of any worth.

A good idea is to make a list of the common questions and rehearse the answers. Request a friend to ask the questions to see whether you can answer them clearly and accurately. This would prepare you for the real thing.

During the Interview

3. Ensure convenience. If you have to answer a recruiter’s questions while feeding a fussy toddler, you are in some serious trouble. You need a calm mind and a convenient environment to ace a phone interview.

The best thing to do, when the recruiter calls you at an inconvenient time or when you are at an inconvenient place, is to politely request for another opportunity within a day. Don’t make the recruiter wait more than that; you may never get another chance if you do.

4. Listen carefully. A good communicator is always a good listener. Let the recruiter finish the question before you begin to answer it. A question may even take another turn at the last minute. You would understand it only if you listen to it.

Besides, it’s impolite to interrupt in a formal conversation. A recruiter may feel offended if you speak before they have completed their sentence. And it’s not really a recipe for success for a phone interview.

5. Think properly. Give a thought to the question before you answer it. A question may have more to it than is apparent at first glance. Only if you pay attention to it, you would be able to answer it properly.

If you are not sure about the question, request the interviewer to explain it a little. Also, decide the questions you want to ask. Time them well. You need to answer their questions before you can ask them yours.

6. Speak clearly. Your ability to answer questions intelligibly and accurately is an important factor for success. Don’t use any informal language or colloquial terms during the interview as it sends the wrong message about your professionalism.

A recruiter determines your worth based on your capability to converse as much as on your credentials, skills and experience. It is, therefore, important that you limit the ‘umm’ and ‘ah’ at the time of the interview. Clarity of speech shows clarity of thought.

After the Interview

7. Ask for an in-person interview. If you have promptly answered the questions and the interviewer seems impressed, it is best to ask for a face-to-face meeting as soon as the questions are complete. With a little luck, the recruiter would give you an appointment.

What do you do if the interviewer doesn’t want to make a commitment? Ask about the next step in the process. Would they get in touch over the telephone or by email? This would at least give you an idea of whether this possibility is available.

With a little planning and preparation, you can easily succeed to impress a recruiter. To do this, hone your communication skills. They can give you the necessary edge over others and land you at the next level of the recruitment process – a face-to-face interview.

If you have failed to create the right impression at phone interviews in the past, don’t let them discourage you. Analyse the experience. Find out what went wrong. This could provide an insight about what you must not do in a phone interview. With this analysis, you can easily prepare the details of what you must do in a phone interview in the future.

photo credit: Bunches and Bits {Karina} via photopin cc

About the author

Richard White

Richard White works as an editor at Yellow Brick Path. He enjoys varying his work and researching new and different approaches to his work. He shares an interest in career counseling and recruitment. Follow him on Twitter