Top 10 Tips for Acing a Phone Interview
Phone interviews are common as the first step for an employer to narrow down their candidates, with an in-person interview often coming later. They may also occur if the interviewer is distanced from you, the candidate. The following are ten tips to get you track of acing a phone interview:
Before the Interview:
- Research. You probably researched the position a little bit before applying, but now is the time to do more research. Using the company’s webpage can be helpful to learn about their values and mission, but if you can talk to someone from within the organization, that’s an even better way to gain insight. You will likely be asked what you know about the organization, and it’s important to show that you’ve done your research.
- Figure out what questions you want to ask. You will likely have time at the end of an interview to ask questions of your own. This is a great opportunity to clarify anything about the position and is another way to show you’re interested. Don’t ask about remuneration, vacation, benefits, etc. (that can come later when the job is being offered).
- Prepare a cheat sheet. Since you don’t have to make eye contact like in a face-to-face interview, you can instead have answers and key points written down in front of you. This will help you stay on track and ensure you include everything that you want to mention.
- Practice. The best way to be prepared for any interview is to practice. This can include refining any scenarios you may describe, and can reduce the number of times you say “umm” in the actual interview.
- Space. Find a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted or distracted during your phone interview. If you are using a cell phone, make sure the reception in that area is strong so your answers will be fully heard and understood.
During the Interview:
- Smile and lift your chin. Even though the interviewer can’t see you, the tone of your voice changes when you smile and lift your chin up. This positive, confident body language can go a long way in an interview, especially when customer service is a big part of the role you’re applying for.
- Try not to rush. Any interview is nerve-wracking, and this can cause you to speak fast. Take your time to formulate your responses and communicate clearly so the interviewer can fully understand you. Not rushing will also ensure you aren’t cutting off or interrupting the interviewer when they speak.
- Make sure you said everything you wanted to say. We’ve all had moments where we think back to a conversation and wish we’d said more or think of the perfect response too late. Because you have your cheat sheet in front of you, you can refer to it to make sure you said all the key points you wanted to state.
- Thank them and ask about next steps. At the end of the phone interview, thank the interviewer for their time and ask them what the next steps are. Their response will give you a better understanding of their recruitment timeline and will clarify what you can expect in the coming days / weeks.
After the Interview:
- Follow-up. The most common way to follow-up to thank an employer for any interview is via email, although sending a card or making a phone call are also valued approaches. No matter your method, you want to thank the employer for their time and re-iterate your interest in the position. If you can add something of value to your follow-up, this is a great opportunity to do so (eg. something that was mentioned in the interview, such as a copy of your First Aid certificate or a sample of your work).
If you need assistance, an advisor from Student Employment Services is happy to help. Book an appointment via CareerCentral: www.nic.bc.ca/careercentral.