Phone Interview Tips

An ordinary routine for many companies in the hiring process is starting with telephone interviews before officially scheduling in-person meetings.

Managers may e-mail you to schedule a time to talk, or they may unexpectedly call you out of the blue. Either way, you always want to leave a great first impression.

Many job candidates assume that they can casually fly by a phone interview since there's no face-to-face interaction. Let me tell you - that is the wrong assumption! From my experience, people can, surprisingly, spoil their opportunities by making simple, unknown mistakes in their conversations with employers.

I'll go over these common mistakes and give you important phone interview tips that could get you the next one-on-one interview you desire.

  1. Prepare by understanding and reading the job advertisement. Of course, it's hard to remember every company you applied to, especially if you're sending resumes online. But it is a complete downfall if you show signs of forgetting or not paying attention to their job description.
  2. Some questions a manager may ask are, "What attracted you to the job?" or "Why do you want this position?" You never want to admit that you just need a job. Even in this economy, employers won't sympathize with that answer. Nor do you want to over-exaggerate just to make yourself look like you did some research. When you really understand what the job entails, your answers will come out naturally.

  3. Be in a quiet surrounding. Don't talk while you're at work or in a crowded area. I once interviewed a candidate on the phone, and he was communicating with his coworker in the middle of our conversation. Not only was that rude, but it shows lack of interest and professionalism.

    Schedule your phone interviews during your lunch break or when you absolutely know you'll be alone.

  4. Don't sound too casual just because it's a phone conversation. Believe it or not, but some people actually assume that behaving casually on the phone gets them a pass. If you're still sleeping or lounging on the couch when a company calls, get on your feet and give your all.
  5. Don't give too long of an answer. Managers want to know that you can get to the point and think promptly. Rambling on will make them want to hang up quick! Give your answer, elaborate briefly, and you're good.
  6. Always ask questions at the end! Show interest, and the employer will appreciate that. This is why researching the company is important so you can bring up genuine questions. However, keep it to one or two questions. Save some for the in-person interview.

  7. Offer to call the manager back if you're unable to speak. An employer might call you without prior notice, but that's what you should be expecting. Politely ask to schedule a later time to talk, and try to make it the same day. Simply saying "I'm busy... Can you call back?" is a big mistake.

Remember, managers are choosing you from a large pool of other candidates, and they are taking time out of their day to call you. Make them feel that their time is useful by following these tips, and you will gain better chances to score a personal interview.

Alongside these phone interview tips,
review the rest of the hiring process.