Image by Michael Roach
The phone interview has become a common tactic for employers to reduce the candidate pool before inviting individuals to the office. In-person interviews require a significant investment of time and resources, while a phone interview is a quick and easy way to determine whether a candidate seems like a good fit. While preparing for a phone interview, you need to understand that it is just as important as an in-person interview. In a way, the stakes are higher since you have less time to make a great impression, not to mention that your tone and inflection can easily be misinterpreted over the phone, since body language does not come into play.
Preparing for a phone interview – just as a traditional interview – involves a great deal of research. You need to thoroughly research the company using Google and have a clear understanding of its past and likely future. In the course of your research, write out a few questions that you want to ask related to the company in general and the specific position. The questions will demonstrate your commitment to the job. A lack of questions could be interpreted as disinterest. If possible, you should also do a bit of research on the person who will conduct the interview. Some people find it easier to talk to someone if they know what the person looks like, so you may want to search for a picture on LinkedIn or the company website.
Take advantage of the phone interview by creating “cheat sheets,” which could include printed copies of your resume with additional notes and other documents that reflect your research. You can have these papers spread out in front of you during the phone interview. Ensure that you keep them organized so that you do not waste time looking for documents. Be sure to eliminate any potential distractions from pets, children, or significant others. Choose a quiet location away from noisy streets and use a landline, if possible, since cell phones can easily become disconnected. Ask for the interviewer’s phone number in case you are disconnected.
Most professionals recommend that you dress like you would for an in-person interview. When you look the part, you are more likely to sound professional. By dressing up, you will take the conversation more seriously, and the experience will feel more official. In addition, remember to smile as you talk. While it may seem insignificant, a smile can definitely influence your tone of voice. When you have a smile on your face, it’s more difficult to sound bored or disinterested.