Many companies conduct phone interviews before bringing in candidates for a face-to-face meeting. These “screen interviews” save time and money from the company's’ perspective, providing an opportunity to weed out candidates who aren’t a good match quickly without much investment.
Practice phone etiquette in every conversation you have so that it comes naturally. How you say hello, how you say goodbye, and your manners throughout the conversation speak volumes about your professionalism. Some questions a phone interviewer will be asking themselves are:
Are they courteous and polite or do they come across gruff and cold?
Do they talk over me or interrupt frequently?
Did they make the effort to make this call a priority by finding a quiet place to talk?
Did they miss the initial call? What does their voicemail portray about their professionalism?
To knock your upcoming phone interview out of the park, these five tips will set you up for success:
Treat it just like a face-to-face interview. One of the biggest mistakes candidates make is to think they “just” have a phone interview. Even if the phone interview is an HR screening, the person on the other side of the line has the power to immediately take you out of the running for the position. Take a phone interview just as seriously as you would a face-to-face interview.
Find a quiet space with no distractions. If possible, get out or range of your dog barking, your kids playing, turn off the TV, etc. If you aren’t able to be in a completely quiet space, give a heads up to the interviewer that there may be some background noise. It will be less distracting if they know to expect it.
Make sure phone service is reliable. There are many places in buildings, and maybe even your home, where phone service may cut in and out. Don’t walk around during your interview to avoid static or dropped calls. A good way to test the best place to have the phone interview is to call a friend from the spot before hand and ask them how you sound.
Check your email several times in the minutes leading up to your interview. You never know when something might come up or if someone is running behind. Any last minute updates will be sent to your email, keeping you in the loop.
Be ready to take notes. Being on the phone is a bit more challenging than face-to-face because it’s easier to get distracted. Taking notes will help you to focus on what the interviewer is saying and provides something for you to reference afterwards.
Phone interviews are important and you can secure a face-to-face interview with the proper preparation. If you have specific questions about the interview process, we’d love to help!