How to ace your phone interview
Looking for a new job? In today's fast-paced and highly competitive job market, phone interviews have become an essential and often crucial step in the hiring process. They serve as the initial gateway for employers to assess your qualifications, skills, and suitability for a specific role. While a phone interview may lack the face-to-face interaction of an in-person meeting, it requires just as much preparation and diligence to make a strong impression.
This guide will help you prepare for your phone interview with valuable tips to ensure you're well-prepared and confident when that call comes in.
When you are job searching, it is important to be always prepared for a phone interview. You never know when you might get contacted by a recruiter, so answer your phone professionally when you get calls from unfamiliar numbers. The phone call could be an interview in itself or an invitation for a future interview. If you are invited to have a phone interview on another day, make sure you get the correct date and time of the interview, the name of the company and the person who will be calling you. It is also important to know which role they are going to be interviewing you for, so you can prepare yourself accordingly.
Do your research
Whether you are invited to an in-person interview or a telephonic interview, you must do your research. Find out all you can about the company, visit their website and social media pages. Study the role you are interviewing for and the job description if you have it. Try to match your qualifications with the job description so you can show how good a match you are for the position. Also go over your CV and refresh yourself with your previous work profiles. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses and prepare yourselves with common interview questions.
Practice your interviewing skills
Phone interviews usually have a shorter time limit and not being able to see the interviewer and gauge their reactions can be nerve-wrecking. Talking on the phone is not easy and practicing can be helpful. You may not realize it but you may not be enunciating properly or may be speaking too quickly or too slowly. For practice, have a family member or friend call you on the phone for a mock interview and also record it so you can see how you sound. You may also be using a lot of “hmms” and “ohs” and “okays”, recording yourself can help you correct it.
Select a tranquil and private setting for your interview, avoiding noisy or public locations. Tell your family you need to be quiet and keep pets and kids away. Close windows and shut down any sources of background noise like TVs or vacuum cleaners. Silence electronic devices to eliminate potential distractions and, if necessary, use earphones to help you concentrate.
Get your phone ready
If you are taking the call on your cell phone, make sure it is fully charged and you are placed in a location with good reception. Turn off call waiting to prevent interruptions and turn on ‘Do not Disturb’, so you won’t hear the buzzes and beeps from various apps and texts. If you are taking the call on your landline, switch off or mute your cellphone.
Keep essentials with you
Ensure you have your resume, application and any preparation documents at hand but don’t rely on them too heavily. Wherever possible use concise bullet points as prompts instead of detailed notes. Keep a notepad and pens handy for jotting down any useful information provided during the interview or any specific questions asked. These notes could be useful if you are invited for a second interview. Keep a glass of water nearby to avoid dry mouth caused by talking or nervousness.
Make sure you are calm before the interview and speak directly into the phone or headset. Don’t interrupt the interviewer and wait for them to finish before speaking. Speak clearly and confidently and ask for clarification if any question is unclear. Maintain a smile while giving your answers, even if the interviewer cant see you, they can sense the positivity from your tone. Focus on listening carefully to the questions, enunciate your words clearly, and take a moment to gather your thoughts before responding. Aim to give short, concise, on-topic answers which are focused on the questions asked.
After the interview
Make sure to ask some questions of your own after the interview. Then, thank your interviewer, and ask for their email address, if you don’t already have it. Also, enquire about the next steps in the process and when you can expect to hear from them. Send a prompt thank-you email, mentioning your interest in the job and using it to provide any additional qualifications or information. If you don’t hear back within a couple of weeks, it's perfectly fine to follow up via call or email to restate your interest and request feedback.
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