Resource Options, Inc.

First Impressions: Phone Interview


Phone interviews are becoming increasingly popular in today’s job market. Often times this phone call is used by recruiters to get to know an applicant and determine if they are a right fit for the company before bringing them into the office.   This is a great opportunity for you, the job seeker, to showcase your strengths and personality without having the added pressure of meeting your interviewer face to face.  Below are our top ten tips for a phone interview to increase your chances of making it to the next round.
  1. Prepare ahead of time: It is important to prepare for a phone interview as though it were an in person one.  Research the company before you speak with the recruiter and have a few questions prepared. Write down a list of your past experiences and how they have shaped your career.  Knowing what you want to say ahead of time will help you navigate the conversation smoothly and confidently.
  2. Be sure you have enough time: The last thing you want to do during a phone interview is cut it short.  Block out an hour in your schedule to ensure you have enough time, if the conversation is lasting longer than expected it usually means things are going well.  If the phone call is unexpected, tell the recruiter you are flattered to receive the call and ask if you could set up a time that works for both of you.
  3. Have the job description in front of you: When you know exactly what the job description is, you will have a much easier time coming up with talking points to highlight how you are a perfect fit.  Jot down a skill next to each requirement that you have experience with and use this to highlight to the recruiter why you should be brought in for the next round.
  4. Choose a quiet, comfortable, interruption free space: This is a big one! Pick a space where you can close the door and shut out any noise that may interrupt the conversation.  If you have a pet keep them occupied outside your space and try to reduce the number of distraction you have easy access to. You want to give the interview your undivided attention.
  5. Use the internet: Take advantage of the fact that the person on the other end of the phone cannot see you by having the company website open and a search engine at the ready.  If you get stumped don’t stress, quickly (and quietly) search for the answer you need and deliver it calmly.
  6. Listen carefully: Take notes of your discussion with the interviewer.  Do not interrupt when they are speaking, and ask thoughtful questions based on what the recruiter has said if possible.
  7. Smile: When you smile your energy level goes up and this will help translate your enthusiasm for the position.
  8. Avoid discussing money: When making a first impression it is best to avoid discussing salary.  The interviewer may ask what you are looking to make and you can answer questions like this by saying “I would rather discuss in person” or “I’m negotiable.” Salary conversations should be saved for the final steps.
  9. Inquire about the next step: Before you finish the conversation ask what the next steps are in the process.  Tell the recruiter you enjoyed the conversation and are excited about the opportunity.
  10. Send a quick thank you: Shortly after your conversation send the interviewer an email note thanking them for their time.  Reference the conversation you had from the notes you took and recap a few skills that make you the best fit for the position.  Don’t be afraid to mention that you are looking forward to setting up a time to meet in person.
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