There’s no other way to put it: phone interviews are daunting. Not only is this your first real “personal” opportunity to give the employer a great impression of you, your chances of moving on to an in-person interview hinge on it. Fortunately, you have some benefits on your side for phone interviews, and preparing for them similarly to how you would prepare for an in-person interview can greatly improve your chances on making it to the next round of interviews.

  • Be ready. A great advantage of phone interviews is the ability to have cheat sheets in front of you the entire time. Keep the job description, your resume, your research on the company, a list of your accomplishments, and your questions gathered together so you can quickly reference them during the call.  Anticipate difficult questions so you can determine effective answers ahead of time. Also, keep a pen and paper with you to take notes; this will help you write a targeted thank-you note later as well as help you stay on track during the call.
  • Determine the tone. Choose a quiet place with good phone reception and away from children, pets and any other potential distractions or interruptions. Convey energy and enthusiasm through your voice while paying attention to keys from the interviewer. If the interviewer speaks slowly and softly, do the same. Inversely, if the interviewer is speaking fast and loud, pick up your own pace and volume. However, remember to speak slowly and clearly, as the interviewer is likely writing or typing your answers.
  • Set parameters. When it’s your turn to ask questions, ask the interviewer who would be the ideal candidate for the position and follow up by describing why you are that person. Emphasize specifically why you want to work for the company, and remember to verbalize feelings since the interviewer can’t see your facial expressions. Pace yourself, and try to keep all answers to under a minute each.
  • Close strong. Don’t be afraid to inquire about how the process will continue. Thank the interviewer for taking the time to speak with you, and restate your enthusiasm for the position as well as the company. Ask when the next round of interviews will be scheduled and when you can expect to hear back.
  • Follow up. Just as you would with an in-person interview, be sure to send a thank-you email or letter promptly. Refer to the details of your conversation and include specific ways you will contribute to the company if hired. Reiterate your strengths, particularly in areas where they may have concerns.

Taking the time to make sure you are thoroughly prepared for a phone interview is the most important and proactive step you can take in this initial screening phase. Approaching a phone interview the same way you would approach an in-person interview can make all the difference when determining your chances of making it to the next round of interviews. If you are looking for help finding your next job or enhancing your careercontact the experts at Staffers today!

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