It seems that these days, hiring managers want to get to know you over the phone before they bring you in for an interview. Most of the time, this is just to vet out any glaring signs that you’re not a good fit for the role. Usually, the hiring manager will ask some questions related to the job you applied for—but these questions usually aren’t too detailed or technical. They may also ask you some questions about who you are outside of work. They’ll try to get a conversation going about your family, your hobbies, your pets, or anything else that gives them a picture of who you are as a person. The most common reason for these questions is to vet out culture or personality fit.
Phone interviews need to be handled a little bit differently than an in-person or onsite interview. There are different things to think about when preparing for these interviews. You’re not there in front of the hiring manager to make that first impression on them—so you need to find a way to make that happen over the phone. Here are a few tips that will help you make a good first impression over the phone and hopefully help you get an in-person interview or—even better—a job!
1. Find an ideal location. This first one should be somewhat obvious; however, you’d be surprised at the amount of people that try to conduct phone interviews with their screaming baby in the background or in the mountains of West Virginia where the cell phone coverage is very minimal.
Make sure that wherever you are, you have good, dependable cell phone coverage. Also make sure that your area is quiet. Lock yourself in a room with no one else around and nothing else making any loud noises—peace and quiet.
2. Get to know the company you’re interviewing with. If this is a company you’re not familiar with, look at their website and educate yourself on what they do, what they’re doing, and how you think you can contribute. Even if you feel that you do know the company, still do some research. There’s bound to be something you don’t know yet that you can use to sound intelligent and well-informed in your interview.
3. Get to know the person you’re interviewing with. Who are you interviewing with? What is their official title at the company? Where did they work before this? What certifications do they have? Where did they go to school? All of these questions can help you navigate the conversation during the interview.
Knowing who the person is will help you feel more confident going into the interview. If anything will make your more anxious about the interview, it’s waiting for that mystery person that you know nothing about to call your phone. You’ll also potentially find out if you went to school together, or worked at the same company together, or volunteered for the same non-profit. The best way to find this information out is by simply looking them up on LinkedIn. Put some of those stalker (ahem—researching) skills you’ve learned on Facebook to good use!
4. Sound confident. It can be a bit harder to convey confidence over the phone. However, there are some ways to prepare yourself physically and mentally to sound more confident and carry the conversation in a confident way. Before your interview, stand up and spread your legs out to shoulder width. Second, puff your chest out a little bit. It might sound a little silly (and it might feel a little silly), but body language has a huge impact on your confidence level.
Second, stand up when you’re talking! Standing up as opposed to sitting in a chair will help you project your voice and give you more confidence when you speak.
Third, make sure you smile over the phone. The interviewer can’t see you in person, so convey the fact that you’re excited to be interviewing with them! Even if it doesn’t come naturally, smile when you talk – we promise that people will be able to hear your smile over the phone if you do it.
5. Next steps. As your interview wraps up, you’ll most likely be wondering what’s next. This is a good time to actually ask the interviewer about next steps. Don’t be afraid to what the next step in the interview process is and when you can expect to hear back from them.
If the interview didn’t go well, just avoid the next steps questions and end the call wishing them a great rest of the day, afternoon, or evening. You don’t want to end the call by panicking, trying to recover, or getting overly emotional. Later down the road, you could interview with this company or person again. Most likely, they’ll have notes on your interview or will remember. Leave a good first and last impression!
These aren’t the only things to think about when preparing for your next phone interview. They are definitely important and are crucial in helping you be successful and get to the next step in the interview process. At the end of the day, being prepared is always your best bet! Do some research, spend some time preparing.
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