With remote and hybrid work environments in full swing post-pandemic, telephone interviews are more important than ever.
Recruiters and hiring managers find phone interviews to be an effective method for either screening candidates or as a step earlier in the interview process, but it’s not quite as easy for candidates.
A phone interview can quickly make or break a candidate’s eligibility for a position, so it’s critical that job seekers are fully prepared to succeed in that type of interview setting.
Although some people underestimate the difficulty of an interview conducted over the phone, it’s definitely not a stage of the interview process that should be overlooked.
This article will provide a few tips to help ensure that you succeed in a telephone interview with a potential employer.
Tips to Prepare Before a Telephone Interview
Before you hop onto a telephone interview, here are a few tips to help get you ready and in the right mindset to clearly demonstrate that you are the best possible candidate.
Do Your Research
This might go without saying, but an important preparation for any interview process is to fully research the organization, the hiring manager, and the industry to which you are applying. Candidates will be able to speak more fluently and with more confidence if they have a deeper understanding of the topics at hand.
Scheduling Your Call is Part of the Interview Process
While your focus may be on the phone interview itself, it’s important to realize that every interaction with a hiring manager or anyone else in the organization is under scrutiny. Ensure that you conduct yourself professionally at every step of the way, as well as respond to scheduling requests as quickly as possible.
Write Down Important Questions & Notes
If you set aside some time to write down any important questions or notes that you would like to cover in the interview, it will help you work them into the conversation more naturally. They will also provide a quick cheat sheet that can be used to fill in any awkward silences.
Prepare Your Interview Location
Candidates perform best in phone interviews when they have complete focus. Prepare the area where you plan to conduct the interview to ensure that it is in a quiet location, which is free of distractions and will remain uninterrupted for the duration of the call.
Tips for During the Interview
Use Headphones With a Microphone
Don’t let a bad connection or technology get in the way of success. Candidates should use headphones and a microphone to ensure that they can hear properly and be heard clearly by the hiring manager. A simple pair of earbuds with a built-in microphone can go a long way toward improving the audio quality of a phone call.
Keep the Tone Conversational, but Professional
Allow the conversation to flow freely by maintaining a confident yet friendly tone. This will help make the interview seem more natural, but don’t lose any professionalism through the process. It’s still important to treat the interviewer with respect reserved for employer-employee relationships.
Have Your Resume, the Job Description, and Any Notes Easily Accessible
Keep any information that you might want to reference during the interview close and easy to access while you are on the phone. You may not actually need to read it, but having it there for your reference will help keep you focused on the most important points of the conversation.
Ask the Interviewer Thoughtful Questions
Nearly every hiring manager will provide candidates with the opportunity to ask their own questions. Candidates should ask thoughtful and curious questions to demonstrate that they fully understand the role and express their interest in fulfilling it to the best of their ability.
Tips for After the Interview
Follow Up Immediately With Any Next Steps
Don’t wait to follow up with the hiring manager if there are any open action items after the call. This will demonstrate that you are eager to fulfill the role and that you are a proactive candidate who is taking the interview process seriously.
Send a Thank You Email
Always send a short follow-up email to thank the hiring manager for the opportunity to speak and to reaffirm any next steps. This is a good way to stay on top of mind as they review other candidates and it also helps ensure that you are properly connected by email should they have any follow-up questions.
Reflect On Your Performance
After the interview, try to think about what went well and what could be improved for the next time. Hopefully, you don’t need to take another interview, but if you do, then you will have better self-awareness as you continue your search for a new job.
Don’t Stop Your Job Search
Don’t wait until you get a response to continue your job search. Keep applying to new positions and organizations until you have a solid job offer in hand. With any luck, you will have more than one to choose from and leverage for better salary negotiations.
Having difficulty finding the right job? Perhaps you need to improve the potential of your career with an MBA!
Check out IvyExec’s Executive MBA Rankings to find a school that’s right for you.