Phone Interviews: Top 5 Tips & Tricks

Phone interviews have become quite common and are dreaded across the nation by all applicants. Why interview us over the phone? Unfortunately it is convenient, that’s why – but let’s talk about phone interviews for a minute. I just had my first phone interview and here’s how I felt:

Pros:

  • Phone interviews are convenient – neither you nor the company may have the money to fly you to their main location
  • You don’t have to wear uncomfortable business attire
  • You can interview in a comfortable place that you know well (i.e.- your kitchen) which can help to calm your nerves

Cons:

  • You don’t have facial or physical cues to go off of (How do we know if it’s going well?!)
  • There can be awkward silences and/or interruptions
  • A bad phone connection could ruin the interview, even though that is not your fault.

So looking at this brief list of pros and cons, how well do you think you would do in a phone interview? Phone interviews can be intimidating, but I am here to take my first experience and turn it into a resource. Here is what I learned:

1.) Make sure you have a comfortable, quiet area with good cell reception (maybe test that out ahead of time). You don’t want background noise or bad cell service to interfere with your interview and distract the interviewer from your amazing answers.

2.) Do your best to practice answering interview questions ahead of time. You obviously don’t know what they will ask you, but practice will help a great deal. You can log into BigInterview to practice at home. If you don’t want to do a practice interview, have a friend or colleague ask you basic interview questions gets you comfortable talking about yourself and your past experiences.

3.) Smile as much as possible. Yes, I know that the interviewer can’t see you, and you might feel/look weird smiling by yourself, but you can actually hear it in a person’s voice when they are smiling. Since you are talking on the phone with someone, there are no visible cues for anyone to observe. Smiling will help you sound happy, positive, and energized during your interview. (Plus if you were interviewing in person, you would smile a lot anyway – so don’t treat this differently!)

4.) Try not to interrupt the person interviewing you. I received a tip for this from a colleague who helped prepare me for my first phone interview. It can be hard over the phone to tell when a person is done talking, so the trick is to pause for about 5 seconds (after they stop talking/before you stop talking) to make sure that they don’t have anything else to say and to give you time to gather your thoughts for your response.

5.) Bring notes with you if you need to! You can’t do this in a normal interview but if you want to have your resume or some practice interview question answers with you just in case then go for it. Just make sure you don’t read any answers verbatim because I promise, they will be able to tell.

Hopefully this has helped you prepare for your next phone interview. Good luck!