Phone interview tips By Jim Hipskind, CPC

The truth is you’re never going to get called for a face-to-face interview if you didn’t leave a good impression on the phone interview. The phone interview is an extremely important first step in the hiring process so it shouldn’t be left to chance.  Here are our phone interview tips.

In our previous blog post we discussed the importance of tying past accomplishments to the requirements of the job you’re being interviewed for. The one thing you need to understand about the phone interview is that you have just one objective: to receive an invitation for a face-to-face interview. In doing this you should take the opportunity to find out as much useful information as you can. Don’t forget that the one objective of the face-to-face interview is to get an offer of employment.

To review:

  1. The primary objective of a phone interview is to get an in-person interview, face-to-face.
  2. The one objective of an in-person, face-to-face interview is to get an offer of employment. (Although you may or may not end up accepting the offer, you still want to at least get one.)

Now that this has been clarified, below I’m offering you some tips to help you nail a phone interview so that you can proceed to the in-person interview, which comes next in the hiring process:

  • Prior to the phone interview make recordings of yourself answering normal interview-type questions. Your spouse or a friend can interview you. Listen to how you sound, make sure you’re articulating your words and practice until you’re happy with the impression you are making.
  • Take the call in a quiet room free of distractions. If necessary it’s okay to ask the interviewer if you can call them back when it’s more convenient.
  • Do not have any noise going on in the background, like a TV, stereo, people conversing.
  • Avoid using a mobile phone due to the risk of poor reception.
  • Have a pad of paper, pen and copy of your updated resume handy.
  • Write down the caller’s full name and position with the company. Verify this by repeating it back to them.
  • Hold the phone receiver 1/2 inch from your mouth and speak right into it.
  • Do not chew gum, smoke or eat anything during the phone interview.
  • Speak conversationally throughout, using some variance in inflection and tone.
  • Make sure you are being heard, but do not shout into the phone.
  • Smile throughout your interview and show some enthusiasm. This will be conveyed through the phone.
  • Sometimes it helps to be standing up rather than sitting down.
  • Allow the interviewer to do most of the talking. Do not give one-word answers. You need to use this as your chance to “sell” them on your qualifications and experience.
  • Do NOT bring up compensation, benefits, holidays or vacation time, as it would be self-serving.
  • When you sense the interview winding down, look for a chance to request a face-to-face meeting.

These tips can help you nail any phone interview, which is the critical first step in getting invited for an in-person interview at the company.

(For more information to help you successfully prepare for YOUR next big interview, download a copy of Dan Simmons’ e-Book, Put Your Best You Forward: Simple Steps to a Successful Interview.)                                

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