While the rules for any interview are mostly the same, there are some special considerations to keep in mind when interviewing over the phone. There are some unique challenges to phone interviews that you need to overcome if you want to succeed.
When you aren’t sitting face-to-face with someone, it is hard to communicate the subtle gestures and facial expressions we rely on for successful communication. As such, you will need to go out of your way to show enthusiasm and excitement. You will need to go out of your way to ensure that everything you need to express comes across clearly and smoothly over the phone. If you are preparing for an upcoming phone interview, keep reading to learn the most effective strategies to help you make it to the next round of interviews.
Do Your Homework
Your interview starts well before the call. Spend time researching the company. What are the company’s goals? Who are their competitors and how do they stack up? What success has the company experienced recently? You don’t want to get caught off guard when your interview asks, “what do you know about our company?” Doing your research beforehand helps you develop a well-prepared answer that is sure to impress.
Make sure your research also includes finding out as much as you can about your interviewer. Check out their LinkedIn profile to find out where they went to school, some of the career accomplishments, who they work with and any special skills or interests they may have. Knowing this information can help you better relate to the person on the other end of the phone. It also helps take the awkwardness out of the conversation when you feel that you know a bit about a person. Not only is that, knowing their career background can help you cater your answers to what they believe most important.
Create the Perfect Environment
Find a quiet room for your interview. Shut the door and request family members not disturb you during the interview. You want to make sure you can give your interviewer your full attention during the call.
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It is not only embarrassing but unprofessional to have a lot of background noise and interruptions taking place during the interview. Not only that, it gives the impression that whatever you have going on around you is more important than the conversation. When setting up for your interview, consider using a landline for the call as you don’t want to risk a poor cell phone signal. Also, consider using a headset or earpiece for the call. A headset can help block outside noise so that you can better hear the person on the other end of the line.
Dress the Part
Don’t think just because it is a phone interview that you can slack on the dress code. Sure, they won’t be able to see you. But when you put on your best interview clothes, it helps set you in the right mindset for the interview. It helps keep you focused on the fact that it is an interview and not a simple phone conversation. Remember, even though the person on the other end of the line can’t see you, your enthusiasm and demeanor come through in how you communicate. When you look the part, you are likely to be more excited and upbeat. Just be careful if you choose to wear jewelry. Avoid items that cause noise such as bracelets that might be distracting during the call.
Prepare and Practice Your Answers
Come up with a list of questions that you think the interview might ask. Then, prepare your answers and cater them to how you feel you best meet the requirements for the role. Practice your answers until you can recite them comfortably with a smooth flow.
During your interview, keep in mind the fact that facial expressions and gestures don’t translate well over the phone. That doesn’t mean you should ignore their importance. Given that, make sure your answers are upbeat to show that you are enthusiastic and speak clearly to ensure they hear every word.
Keep Your Materials Handy
Make sure you have your resume, the job description and research materials close at hand. You want to have them ready for reference at a moment’s notice. Don’t spend time focusing on them though as it could make you seem unprepared. The idea is to have them ready for reference if necessary.
The best way to show you are engaged in the conversation is to ask questions. Based on your pre-interview research, come up with a list of potential questions for the interviewer. Ask questions about the company. Have them provide more information about the team and their goals. Ask them to elaborate more on the new role and goals are for the person hired. Stay away from questions about salary and benefits. You don’t want to seem pushy or presumptive. Before ending the call, ask the interviewer if they have additional questions they have for you or if they would like you to elaborate more on something. Doing so gives them a chance to revisit unfinished topics. It also gives you the opportunity to clarify anything they may have misunderstood or the chance to add more information that could help strengthen your case.
Send a Thank You Note
The interview doesn’t end the moment you hang up the call. A thank you note is the perfect way to show your appreciation for the opportunity. Many candidates skip this vital step. If you go out of your way to send a thank you note, you’ll remain at the forefront of the interviewer’s mind. It can help keep you at the top of the list when it comes down to final selections. The note doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Just a quick letter thanking them for their time. Be sure to mention that they can contact you if they have further questions. Also, be sure to restate your interest in the job. Let them know that you are eager to join the team.
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