12 Awesome Phone Interview Tips to Score the Maximum

Most companies begin with a telephonic interview with prospective employees. You never know when your prospective recruiter might call you, so check out these common phone interview questions to learn how to ace a phone interview and move onto the next follow up one.

Prospective employers make use of phone interviews in order to go through an initial screening of candidates and narrow down the applicants to call for a personal interview. They also conduct phone interviews for remote positions where a personal interview is not possible.

Here are the top telephone interview tips, which are sure to land you the coveted second interview. Just because your hiring manager cannot see you, it doesn’t mean you throw all etiquette out of the window and start slacking. I’m assuming that you’ve already done research on the company and anticipated the type of  questions they might throw at you!

Top Phone Interview Tips to Get That Dream Job

typical phone interview questions

  1. How to Prepare for a Phone Interview? The Night Before

  • See that you get at least 8 hours of sleep the night before.

Tip: This improves focus, alertness and cognitive performance.

  • Don’t cram all the answers the night before; start preparing a few days in advance.
  • Keep your clothes ready for the Big day and leave some additional time to prepare and get ready the next day. It reduces stress and nervousness at the last minute.
  • Try a power breakfast with protein, a porridge, some fruits etc. to keep your senses alert.
  • Exercise the day before. Go for a brisk morning walk on the day, if time permits. You’ll be more energetic and confident.
  1. Prepare Notes or a Cheat Sheet for Phone Interview

The advantage here is that you have access to cue cards and also the Internet. It’s not cheating, I assure you and you no longer have to rely on your memory alone.

  • How to create a cheat sheet? Check out commonly asked telephone interview questions or typical phone interview questions and prepare the answers.
  • Find out what to expect in a phone interview and jot down the answer points on a paper. Write it legibly.
  • Keep a pen and paper handy for taking notes.
  • Note down company facts and information about your interviewer if possible.

Tip: Check out the Company Profile on LinkedIn. Check out sites like glassdoor.com to find out more about the common interview questions , salary range etc.

  • Keep your resume on hand as a preparation for telephone interview questions and answers.
  • If your interviewer has already informed you about what he will be discussing, you can prepare these topics.
  1. Change Those Jammies for an Over the Phone Interview

Your prospective boss might not be able to see you in your favorite Scooby Doo pajamas, but do check yourself in the mirror and dress up appropriately for a phone interview.

  • While preparing for a phone interview, remember Pajamas are strictly out. When you’re dressed in sleep wear, your mind finds it difficult to differentiate between relaxing time and work mode.
  • You can think more clearly and speak more professionally in work clothes. No employer wants to hear you say ‘Sup, bro’ 🙂
  • You feel more empowered when you put on a suit and tie ( or its equivalent in case of a woman).
  • It is part of the process of getting into the right mindset and PJs just don’t cut it!
  1. Smile

Phone Interview Tips

(Source: internsdc.com)

  • Your smile comes through your voice and you come across as a warm and engaging personality.
  • Smiling also calms your nerves.
  • Your entire attitude becomes positive when you smile.

Tip: Practice answering interview questions with a relaxed smile on your face. Don’t overdo it. We’re not thinking of a beauty pageant smile or a clown doll one.

  1. Tips for Speaking

  • How to answer the phone for a phone interview? Give power to your voice. Your interviewer is likely to view you people with a powerful voice as being more dynamic and confident.
  • Try adding some variation to your tone, as part of phone interview do’s and don’ts. A monotone can be really boring and dull.
  • Show enthusiasm through your voice.
  • Slow down your speech by pausing strategically. It shows you are in control of the situation and your interviewer is also able to process the information better, as he gets more time.
  • Use impressive filler words. Don’t keep repeating ‘um’ and ‘uh’. Try eliminating words like Well, You Know, I mean, Right? Etc.
  • Do not be over familiar with your interviewer. Address them as Miss/Mrs/Mr and not by their first name, unless specifically invited to do so.
  • Do not use slang.
  • Lastly, as an important part of tips for a phone interview, speak clearly, be polite, courteous and do not forget to thank your interviewer at the end.
  • Answer briefly but convey all that you want to in the shortest possible way.

How to Prepare for a Phone Interview

(Source: kent.ac.uk)

  • Practice with your family or friends before the big day.
  1. Turn off Disturbances

  • Turn off the television, stereo or any other source of disturbance.
  • Let others around you know that you are not to be disturbed.

Tip: Put the baby/dog in another place.

  • Park some place quiet in an area where parking is allowed.
  • Try to take the interview from a landline.
  • Try avoiding supermarkets or other noisy places.
  • Do not multitask or do something on your to do list while attending the phone interview. Your interviewer can easily tell if you are getting distracted.

Note: Interviewers have often complained of candidates washing dishes, making lunch or walking the dog during the interview.

  1. Posture Tips

Slouching or lazing around is a complete no no. Some people prefer sitting down. But there are definite advantages to standing up and attending a phone interview. Here’s why!

  • You’ll sound more dynamic, professional and confident.
  • You could also walk around a little if you have a headset, to keep the conversation going smoothly.

Tip: Don’t walk around so much that you become out of breath.

  • Your voice projects more energy when you stand up and talk.
  • If you must sit, sit up straight in a comfortable chair. It makes your voice sound attentive and interested. Do not slump on the seat, as it makes the voice sound tired and disinterested.
  • Do not fidget with the pen or tap your foot or drum your fingers on the table. All these are giveaway signs that you are a nervous person.
  1. No Salary Talk

  • It is simply too early to be talking about money.
  • This is only a preliminary round and no time to be asking questions about training or starting dates.
  1. Stay Organized

You might have submitted applications for various jobs. Stay organized with job search details so that you can answer your phone interview questions appropriately. You’d surely not want to confuse jobs.

  • Use an account like Indeed or use mobile apps for keeping track of all jobs that you’ve applied to.
  • Use an Excel sheet to list names of companies, contact numbers, position applied for and so on.
  • Create Google Alerts and add the companies that you’ve applied to in order to stay in time. You will get all the new stories for a specific period.
  1. Interview Location

  • Set the scene and find a quiet spot. If you like, sit by a table or a desk for making notes. Keep all relevant materials near you.
  • Check out the Internet service and keep your phone fully charged.
  • Cut out all background noise.
  • If you’re currently in a job, don’t take the interview in your workplace. You could get fired!
  1. The Art of Listening

  • Be an active listener.
  • Understand the questions well and answer to the point.
  • Do not interrupt your interviewer and do not rush to answer a question. Let your recruiter complete his question and then start speaking after a few seconds of thought.
  1. End of Interview

  • Remember to say a thank you and follow it up with an email.
  • Ask them what is the next step in the interview process. It could be another phone interview; a face to face interview; a visit to the location; checking references. You need to know to remain prepared.
  • Ask them when you might expect to hear from them about the job.
  • Ask your interviewer who you should contact to remain in touch to get information on the next step and when you can contact them.
  • Reach out to the person when the deadline is over.
  • Be careful not to follow up aggressively. Remain polite.

Wrap Up

A telephonic interview is your first actual contact with your prospective employer and you just cannot afford to mess it up. Phone interviews are as important as face to face interviews and need an equal amount of preparation. Moreover, phone interviews are shorter and can save you a lot of time. You also have the advantage of remaining unseen, but speak the right body language to ace the phone interview.

In fact, I’d say a phone interview needs more preparation, as your hiring manager is not able to see you and you need to do a lot more to impress him. Apply all the usual standards essential for a regular interview, such as company research and so on in addition to the above tips.

Phone interviews are becoming more popular these days and for good reason too: it saves a lot of time and effort for everyone. But interviewers still expect the candidates to be as prepared as for a personal interview, with the same rules applicable. So, go nail it!!

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