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Tips for a Phone Interview

Woman on the phone

Morgan Fong

by Morgan Fong

3rd Year Management Student

Interviews for your dream job, whether a co-op placement, an internship, or a full-time position, can be stressful, to say the least. Many interviews happen face-to-face, but along your career path, you may very well come across an interview via telephone.

Employers are often conducting phone interviews as part of their initial pre-screening stage. Phone interviews are often seen as less intimidating than in-person interviews, because your body language and professional attire are not considered. However, there are other things you should consider when talking to an employer on the phone: your enthusiasm while answering questions; your genuine interest for the job and the company, etc.

In this article, I’m providing you with some tips on how to ace your next phone interview and increase your chances of receiving an invitation to attend a second interview.

  1.     Focus and Eliminate Distractions

Make sure you are in a quiet area where you are able to talk privately with minimal distractions. This will help you eliminate any potential background noise the employer could notice. If you’re doing your phone interview from home, I would recommend sitting down at a table or a proper desk during the call. I tend to lose my focus and train of thought when surrounded by distractions. It is therefore important for me to set up a “work” environment before the scheduled phone call.

  1.     Prepare Brief Notes

Just as for an in-person interview, you should gather some thoughts and write down a few points for the common questions that you anticipate. The difference with a phone interview though is that you can have your notes in front of you as a reference. Although this may alleviate your stress, do not write down an entire script for each question, as you might not sound genuine when you read it verbatim.

  1.     Listen Carefully

Especially during phone interviews, it is common to listen only to the first part of a question and to overlook what is being asked overall. Many jump to conclusions too early and start answering questions too quickly, without taking a 10-15 second pause to gather their thoughts and focus on how to highlight their abilities/experiences with regard to the needs of the organization. Sometimes it is also difficult to gauge when to stop talking during a phone call, as a long, awkward pause may arise while the interviewer is jotting down notes.

  1.     Follow-up

Many people overlook this crucial last step of the interview process, and it can sometimes determine if you move on to the next stage of the hiring process or if you are eliminated from the pool of candidates. Even though you did not meet the interviewers in person, it is still very important to follow up with them via email, within 48 hours, thanking them for their time and for the consideration.

Through these tips, I hope you will feel more comfortable when your next phone interview happens! Best of luck in all of your future interviews!