Phone interviews can be terrifying for a number of reasons. You can’t see the interviewer to determine whether your responses are being received well, you may worry that you won’t hear them properly, and you can’t rely on your appearance to impress them. Here’s what you need to do to make that good impression all the same.
Avoid unscheduled calls
You may be surprised by an unscheduled call, when the interviewer calls you out of the blue for a chat. These calls are very hard to take, and you can end up losing the opportunity because you are on the back foot. Take back control of the situation by avoiding the call. Tell the recruiter that you are at work, or that you have a meeting to go to, or so forth. Ask them if you can reschedule the call for a later time. If you know when they will call, you can be prepared.
Prepare as normal
Do the same kind and amount of work beforehand that you would do if you were attending an interview in person. Research the company and its background, and think about any questions you may wish to ask the recruiter. Prepare and run questions before the call so that you are sharp with your answers. Create a cheat sheet which has key company information, possible questions and answers, and anything else you may need during the call. The interviewer won’t be able to see you using it, which is a huge advantage.
Create your environment
Be sure to create an environment which is conducive to your phone interview before you begin. Shut out any noises which might interrupt you, turn off other electronic devices, have a glass of water ready in case you get a dry throat. Have a pen and paper in case you need to make notes. Be ready early, and make sure your phone is fully charged.
The first part of the interview will likely involve the recruiter explaining the company and the position to you. Rather than interrupting, listen first and make notes. You can then ask questions afterwards so that you know where you stand. You can also use this as a great opportunity to connect yourself with the company. Find similarities in your past work with what they tell you so that you can give them strong examples of yourself working in a similar situation.
Smile while you’re talking. It may sound odd, but you sound much better when you’re smiling. Try it out yourself by recording your voice and you will hear the difference. You should also try sitting up tall and straight, and holding yourself as if you were in a face-to-face interview. This will help you to find the right tone and professionalism that you need. Make sure that you drink water and try some voice exercises before the call starts so that you don’t sound croaky or dry.
After the phone call has finished, your work is not done. Make sure to write a quick follow-up email, thanking the interviewer for their call. Make sure to give it a positive tone: tell them you were happy to hear from them and that you are very interested in the position. You can even ask about what the next step is, though you should ideally do this in the call itself to show that you are eager.
When you follow these tips, your phone interview should be controlled and calm. You will be in with a shot after impressing the interviewer. The next step will most likely be an in-person interview for them to meet you properly.