Job Interview Tips for Phone Interviews

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Phone interviews are an opportunity to speak in-depth about the experiences and skills mentioned in your resume or cover letter. Many employers prescreen applicants with a phone interview before arranging an in-person interview. If you have well-prepared answers and a calm demeanor that impresses the recruiter, you are more likely to progress to the next stage of the company’s hiring process.

This article will discuss how to prepare for a phone interview, what to say or do during a phone interview and what steps you can take afterward.

How to prepare for a phone interview

Follow these steps to make yourself as comfortable and prepared as possible before your phone interview:

1. Firstly, research the company

It’s important to learn about your prospective employer before a phone interview. If you know the company’s services and mission, you can tailor your answers to better match the company. You can also learn more about the position’s responsibilities and the company culture. Both the company’s website and independent company review sites can help you learn more about the company before your interview. Recruiters often prefer candidates that are engaged and interested in the company, and asking well-researched questions can demonstrate your enthusiasm.

2. Secondly, prepare answers to common interview questions

Interviewers at different companies ask similar questions. They may ask you to describe a time you demonstrated a particular skill listed on your resume or how you might respond to a specific conflict. One strategy for preparing answers is to use the STAR method. The STAR method is a template for answering questions with a Situation, Task, Action and Result. These four pieces of information give recruiters more insight into your experiences. Preparing answers to common questions before an interview helps you include all of the information and give more in-depth answers.

3. Third, prepare your space

Conduct your phone interview in a space that is comfortable and organized. Sitting at a desk or table allows you to write notes and have a copy of your resume, cover letter and job description nearby. It’s also important to have good phone service and a quiet environment during your phone interview. Make sure your chosen space has good phone reception, no background noise and no distractions.

4. Finally, have a list of questions ready

A phone interview is an opportunity for you to learn more about the company and the work environment. Preparing a list of questions ahead of time can help you feel less nervous when the recruiter asks if you have any questions. Asking specific questions about the company also informs the recruiter that you took the time to research and prepare for the interview.

What to say and do during your phone interview

Follow these steps to know what to say and do during your phone interview:

Take notes

Interviews are an exchange of information. If the recruiter mentions something you have a question about or want to remember, write down a brief note. Writing it down is better than trying to remember it, especially if you are nervous. Also, write down the name of your interviewer and the hiring manager if you don’t already have the information.

It’s OK to pause and think

Pauses may feel long and uncomfortable, especially over the phone. But briefly pausing to think through your response is okay. Filler noises, such as “Hmm” are a cue to the recruiter that you are thinking. If you need a longer moment to think through a complex question, it’s okay to respond to the recruiter, “That’s a good question. Can I have a moment to think about the answer?”

Focus on positives instead of negatives

Phone interviews give the recruiter an opportunity to learn about you and your demeanor. It’s important to stay positive, friendly and professional. For example, if a recruiter asks why you left a former employer, discuss your focus on career growth or your interest in the interviewing company rather than former conflicts that may have prompted you to leave.

Ask about the next step in the hiring process

A phone interview is rarely the last step in the hiring process. Asking your interviewer about the next steps signals your continued interest in working for the company. It also sets your expectations about the next stage and how quickly you can expect a response from the company.

What to do after a phone interview

Once the phone interview is concluded, there are still a few important steps to take after the conversation ends. Here are the steps you should take after a phone interview is over:

Send the interviewer a thank you note

Emailing or mailing a personalized thank you note to your interviewer is courteous and polite. It demonstrates to the recruiter that you are professional and appreciate the opportunity. If you were interviewed by multiple people, try to send a note to each interviewer. If you don’t have that information, you can ask the recruiter for their email addresses so you can thank them personally.

Fill in your notes from the interview

You may not have had time to write down complete notes during the phone interview. Take five or 10 minutes after the phone interview to write down the details you remember and read through your notes for missing information.