In a world where jobs are no longer restricted by political and geographical boundaries, several companies today are conducting phone interviews to short-list candidates before calling them in for a face-to-face interaction.
A phone interview has several advantages both for the employer and candidate. It is typically shorter than a face-to-face interview, allowing the interviewer to save on time.
For the candidate, who has the advantage of remaining unseen, a phone interview allows the use of cue cards and cheat sheets, as well as access to the Internet.
Here are 10 phone interview tips to help you ace your phone interview:
1. Choose a good spot
Companies generally tell you in advance when they will be calling. Choose a room where you can speak without disruption. Shut out other noises like TV and radio, take the kids away and lock the room from inside. Ask your family members not to disturb you when the interview is in progress. Get a good phone — preferably a landline. You don’t want calls to drop at this time.
2. Keep documents handy
Get a hard copy of your resume and cover letter and keep it ready. Keep pen and paper handy to take down notes. You could even keep your laptop on in case you want to refer to the Internet. But take care to be discreet — don’t hammer away loudly at the keys of your computer.
3. Use a cheat sheet
One of the great advantages of a phone interview is invisibility. Prepare for expected questions in advance and jot down points on a piece of paper. Write clearly and legibly since you will be referring to it under pressure. Practice the answers to expected questions beforehand and prepare for any derivative question that may arise as well.
4. Be in a positive frame of mind
This may seem odd, but smile! Though the interviewer cannot see you, it is not difficult to sense your mood over the phone. If you feel happy, bright and enthusiastic, this will reflect in your voice. Some experts also suggest dressing for the interview. If you think this will put you in the right frame of mind for the interview, go right ahead and slip into formal clothes.
5. Do your homework
You’ve already visited the company portal while writing your cover letter, so you have a sense of what the organization is about. This may be a good time to go back to the portal and brush up on that knowledge. If you know the name of your interviewer, you could also search him/her on the Internet to learn more about him/her.
6. Treat the interview like a face-to-face interaction
It is easy to fall into the trap of not taking a phone interview as seriously as a face-to-face interview. But remember, this is a process of elimination as well. It will be unfortunate if you were eliminated at this stage because you did not take the interview seriously enough. Prepare for a phone interview as you would for a face-to-face interaction.
7. Ask intelligent questions
After he/she is done with the interview, your interviewer will typically ask if you have any questions. This is a chance for you to showcase your intelligence. You could ask questions on the role you are being interviewed for, company branding or its strategy to beat market slump. Asking questions that tell the employer you are serious about this role.
8. Don’t bring up salary
It is too early at this stage to bring up salary and perks. The company is still assessing your suitability for the job. Salary discussions generally take place in the final stages of the hiring process. So hold your horses till then!
9. Ask if the interviewer has other questions
Asking the interviewer if he/she has any other questions is a good way to round up the discussion. This will give him/her a chance go back to the list of questions and see if something has been left out. If there are no more questions, ask what the next step will be in the hiring process.
10. Say thank you
Don’t forget to say thank you, even if the interview has gone badly. Some experts even recommend sending a short thank you note to the interviewer a day after the interview.
You may spend a lot of time talking on the phone, but that does not equip you to master a phone interview. So keep these pointers in mind to get one step closer to the job.