Phone interviews are a common job screening tactic. Many candidates have to undergo a phone interview before they’re invited to a virtual or in-person second-round interview.
There are many things to keep in mind if you’re invited for a phone interview. For instance, your interview may be held by a recruiter, not by the person who will actually be your boss. You also want to make sure you offer your most-persuasive answers in the time allotted and ask questions that are relevant to the company. The goal of this interview, after all, isn’t to land the job; it is to make it to the next round where you’ll meet the people who would actually hire you.
We have compiled some of our best advice for what to say in a phone interview here. What we want to discuss today are the 15 phone interview tips that have nothing to do with what you say, and everything to do with making the right impression.
Double-check your phone’s charge and functionality.
No one thinks their phone will inexplicably stop functioning before an important interview, but it can happen. Before your interview, make sure your phone is fully charged. Also, make a test call to a friend or colleague to ensure they can hear you.
Create a quiet environment.
Nothing ruins your calm state of mind in an interview than your toddler running into your office or your neighbor mowing their yard outside your open window. Prepare early to eliminate distractions and noises. This may involve booking a conference room at your local library or even renting a hotel room.
Purchase high-quality headphones and microphone.
If you are in a space with noise, it’s a good idea to purchase headphones that will prevent your interviewer from hearing it. At the same time, using headphones ensures that you can hear everything the interviewer says to you. Also, a high-quality microphone makes your voice come through more crisply.
Prepare yourself to be calm.
Interviewing can be stressful. So, it’s important to do what you can to maintain your calm. Specifically, don’t over-caffeinate yourself beforehand, and be sure to eat enough that you’re not jittery. You also may want to have props next to you that calm you down, like a notebook and pen. Finally, if you are nervous before the interview, take a few breaths to slow your heart rate.
Have a glass of water prepared if you need it.
Have you ever had a coughing fit at an inopportune time? What’s more, in an interview, you’ll be speaking a lot, so you may be desperate to moisten your throat. Even if you don’t need to take a sip of water, having a glass beside you gives you peace of mind that it’s there if you need it.
Keep a picture of your interviewer’s face in front of you.
It’s easier to talk to someone if you can see their face, rather than feeling that you’re connecting with a disembodied voice. So, you may want to keep a photo of your interview on your computer or printed out. This way, you can feel more comfortable sharing yourself with this individual.
Wear clothes that make you feel powerful.
No, nobody can see you! But if you wear clothing that makes you feel sophisticated and engaging, rather than, say, your pajamas, then that confidence will translate into your interview, as well.
Sit up straight…
Like wearing the right clothes, your posture also matters, even if no one can see you. Several studies have proven that so-called “power postures” do have a connection to what we think and feel about ourselves.
Some people are able to think more clearly when they’re standing. If this is you, then decide to stand during your interview instead.
Match your interviewer’s personality and rhythm.
If your interview is very enthusiastic, you want to match their level of energy – to a degree that it feels natural to you. If they seem more laidback, you want to do your best to match them. This mirroring is an effective interview tactic.
Speak at an easy-to-understand speed.
If you’re nervous or feel that you’re pressed for time, you may tend to rush through your responses. But if your interviewer can’t follow what you’re talking about, then it doesn’t matter how much you say! Prepare some standard interview questions beforehand and practice your moderate speaking speed with a friend or family member.
Articulate your words carefully.
Over the phone, it can be more difficult to understand others, as the connection usually isn’t as crisp as it would be in a shared physical space. So, this means you need to articulate your words even more carefully than you would in a face-to-face interview.
Smile as you talk.
Even if no one can see you, smiling as you talk can convey your enthusiasm for what you’re discussing.
Quash the urge to fill moments of silence.
You don’t need to fill “dead air” with small talk or questions. Instead your interviewer may be taking notes or a sip of water, not waiting for you to talk.
Send a thank-you email within 24 hours.
It is common interview etiquette to send a thank-you interview to whomever interviewed you within 24 hours. You will likely have your interviewer’s name and email, and you can also ask them to forward your thank you to others also in the interview.
Employing some or all of these phone interview tips ensures that you’re putting your best foot forward. Unfortunately, you could be the most-qualified candidate for a role, but if you stumble in this first-round interview, you still may be overlooked. But by preparing a quiet environment, calming yourself down, and speaking deliberately, you will make a strong impression, even in a limited timeframe.
Now that you know what to do, here’s what to say according to a linguistics professor.