Having a phone interview is much like having an in-person interview, minus being able to visually show that you wrote the book on how to be successful. Still, our nerves can still create issues for us even when we are not face to face with the interviewers. Try these 10 tips from the Resume Rescue team that will definitely help!
1. Speak clearly. You’d be surprised at how often phone interviewers can barely understand what you are saying. Speak loudly and clearly when you are responding to a question.
2. Stay on topic. It’s easy to start rambling about concept X and concept Y when you are on the phone. Stick to the topic at hand, and things will likely go well for you. If you catch yourself rambling, simply apologise, and ask for the next question.
3. Never interrupt the interviewer with your own questions. Wait for the interview to be finished before you choose to ask questions. You don’t want the interviewer to think you are rude, and the worst way to do that is to make him feel as if he has to sit through an interrogation from a potential employee.
4. Stay positive. This is self-explanatory. People love a cheerful person.
5. Keep your language professional. If you have a tendency to dot your phrases with colorful words like “dude” or “chick,” bite your tongue. Using slang, as well as non-standard English, will make you sound a lot less intelligent than you really are. Take half an hour before the interview to practice proper diction, and to work on avoiding those major speech no-no’s.
6. Avoid “ums” and “ers.” Much like tip number 5, saying those filler words (or noises) will make you sound stupid, lacking in professionalism, and lazy. Interviewers rarely hire people who use “um” before every sentence during a phone interview.
7. Keep on time. Remember when you have your phone interview, and make sure that you are in a nice, quiet location where you can focus on listening to the individual on the other end of the phone. Noisy backgrounds usually make it difficult for interviewers to ask the questions that they need to in order to make a decision.
8. Don’t eat or drink during the interview. Nothing is more gross to a phone interviewer than having to listen to the squishy sounds of someone chewing on the other end while they are trying to come up with an answer to a question. Instead of eating and drinking during the phone interview, have a quick snack and glass of water before the interview.
9. Don’t draw out answers. Most phone interviews are only going to be about 5 to 10 minutes in length, tops. Often they are preliminary interviews, which mean that they are just used to get a general idea of who is on the other end of the phone. Do not give super-detailed answers unless they specifically ask for it.
10. Avoid the monotone trap! If you want your interviewer to be lulled into sleep, make sure to talk in a monotone voice. Please note that if you sound boring, dull, and lifeless on the phone, you will likely not get the job. Try to sound enthusiastic about being interviewed and you will be rewarded with an in-person interview.
Lastly, remember the number one rule for success in any interview – be prepared! Have a good night’s sleep, your resume close by, and a couple of quick notes about the company in general before you have that interview.
If you need help with interview nerves, read our article How to Calm your Nerves for an Interview.