How to prepare for a phone interview

Employers usually receive a large number of applications per job posting so it is increasingly common for hiring managers to conduct a phone interview as part of the modern hiring process. This process assists in narrowing down their choice of candidates and deciding who they would like to conduct face-to-face interviews with.

The benefits aren’t just for employers. As a job candidate, a phone interview will mean you have an additional opportunity to talk to the organisation and ensure the job is what you expect and the company is one you would like to work for, without the additional time and effort spent traveling into a face-to-face interview.

However, it also means that you will not have the opportunity to make a strong impression in person, they will not visually see your professionalism or how you present yourself, and you will not showcase your interpersonal skills. This means that in some ways it is more difficult than a face-to-face interview.

Below are some tips for you to ensure your next phone interview is a success:

Be prepared

Remember, it’s still an interview and a critical part of the decision-making process for both you and your potential employer. Preparation is important. Since there are no visuals of you or the other person, you may even like to have your phone interview preparation material in front of you. If you are using a video conferencing system such as Skype, you still should have a non-controversial and professional username, make your background space appropriate, and dress the part.

Practice common interview questions and prepare to have questions of your own

Phone interview questions could be:

  • Tell me about yourself - this is asked to see if meeting you face-to-face is a good use of their time
  • Why do you want to work for us? - this also allows your potential employer to see if you are a good fit for the role and company and how much you know about the company
  • Are you willing to relocate for this role/when would you be able to move for this role - if you are conducting a phone interview due to you being in a different geographical location, you should be ready to give them an answer relating to this

Ensure your location is suitable

You want to ensure that you are in a location where your call has sufficient service and is not susceptible to drop outs. Placing the call in a quiet environment with no distractions is also important. For Skype calls, check for any technical issues well before your call is scheduled.

Use a landline

If you can use a landline, this is a better option than a cell phone. You will be less likely to have signal issues and drop outs.

Be polite and courteous

Manners and respect are always important, however, since you do not have the opportunity to make an impression in-person, it is critical to follow business etiquette and protocols strictly for a phone interview. If they are calling you, ensure you have your phone ready to answer their call right away. If you are calling them, be prompt and on time. You should also be respectful of the other person and allow the interview to finish speaking before you respond to their questions or what they have to say.

Be clear and concise

Be focused and use active listening skills during your phone interview so that you can respond clearly and concisely. Speaking clearly and slowly whilst speaking directly into your phone will ensure the interviewer can hear you and you can represent yourself in a positive way. Always be conscious of the tone you are using. Since the interviewer can’t see you, this is a critical part to ensure you reflect your enthusiasm, dedication and professionalism.

A phone interview is an important step in getting yourself in front of the hiring manager, because it allows the interviewer to screen candidates and decrease the number of face-to-face interviews they have to conduct.

If you would like further tips and advice for your job interview, visit our job interview hub, or contact our team today.

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