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The ultimate guide to acing a phone interview

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Phone interviews have become a regular thing over the years.

Here is a scenario, someone gives you contact details of a company that would really require your skills. You email them, they ask for your phone number so that they can get in touch with you. You send them your contact information then they call you immediately. What do you do? It’s a big a company. The pay is good too according to your research. It would also be an opportunity of a lifetime if it were to go through. Do you pick it then wing the whole interview? I know i’d be nervous.

Phone interviews are used more commonly by companies as a precursory step to determine which candidates should be invited for an in-office interview. Phone interviews save companies and candidates time and money that is typically spent on in-person interviews.

Being prepared and having an idea of questions that you may be asked will certainly pay off and help you to feel more comfortable as the interview goes on. During your call, you may encounter questions ranging from the basics like your work history and professional experience to more situational and behavioral questions.

If you recently applied for a job and having a call with a recruiter is part of the interview process, you’ll definitely want to check out these tips.

1. Prepare ahead of time.

It’s still an interview so be prepared and ready to answer normal interview questions like your work experience,why the company should hire you, salary requirement and so on. Be sure to know the answers to these questions and also think of things you may be asked that pertain to the particular role that you’re interested in.

Protip. Since it’s a phone interview you can have a “cheat sheet”. Print out or jot down points that you feel might come in handy. Have them in an orderly manner for easy identification.

2. Receive the call in a distraction free environment.

This is a time when you need to focus, so finding a distraction-free space is absolutely essential. On top of that, you need a space that is quiet so you can clearly hear the questions being asked and you can clearly give your responses. If you’re unable to be home during your phone interview, you could take the call in a private room at your local library or even in your car.

Make sure there is good cell phone reception wherever you take the call from. It would be embarrassing for the call to be dropped due to a bad signal on your end. If you have a quiet place in mind and you’re thinking you want to use it for your phone interview, call a friend or family member first to test out the reception.

3. Have a glass of water nearby.

You never know if your mouth will become dry from all the talking or if you’ll begin to cough. It’s best to be ready and have water on deck in case you need to take a quick swig. Plus, having something to drink may even help to keep you calm. No matter how long your conversation is going to be,having a glass of water nearby is always a good idea.

4. Take notes.

Have a pen or pencil ready to take notes. Interviewers may often begin the phone conversation informing the candidate about the position or the company. This will be a time to listen actively and take notes. Other information may also be provided. Take notes as needed and take action later if required. Interviewers may pose questions they had told you about earlier during the interview to determine if you’ve been paying attention or how good your memory works.

5. Dress professionally.

Dressing as if you were going to an in-person interview will make you feel put together and confident. Even though you are talking on the phone, make sure you are in a professional setup. Dress up, sit, or stand straight, and your mindset will immediately shift. Most importantly, avoid having phone interviews in your pajamas on the couch.

6. Don’t talk too much.

While engaging in small talk at the beginning of your interview is polite, you should know when to stop and listen. Your answers should be concise and straight to the point. Never talk over the interviewer and notice when they are trying to refocus the conversation. Most importantly, catch yourself when you start to ramble on and focus on being professional and direct.

7. Stay calm

Although this may be hard, do your best to relax and stay calm. During a phone interview, you don’t have to worry about your body language, but your voice can still give you away. Be sure to wait until the interviewer finishes speaking before answering. Also, pay attention to the questions and make sure you understand it before answering.

8. Send a thank you email/note.

At the end of the phone interview, thank the interviewer and ask for their email address. Then, send a thank you email within 24 hours of the interview. In the email, thank the interviewer for their time and express your interest in the position.

While some companies may call you out of the blue, most will let you schedule your phone interview in advance hence giving you time to prepare. Regardless, it is crucial to always answer the phone professionally, especially when receiving a call from an unknown number.

Apart from that, ensure that your voicemail message is up to date and professional.

With these few tips I’m sure you’ll ace your next phone interview.



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