May 28, 2023

Phone Interview Tips

If your phone interview is with a recruiter who found you via LinkedIn or another source, that is awesome! You will want to express enthusiasm for the opportunity and speak with the recruiter, even if you are not interested in the role.

But before we dive into the tips for phone interviews, let's discuss the purpose of a phone interview in the hiring process.

Phone interviews are often referred to as "Phone Screens" by recruiters since they use this process to screen candidates and narrow down the pool of potential candidates before inviting them for in-person interviews. They are also used to reduce the expenses involved in interviewing out-of-town candidates. For remote positions, a phone interview may be the only option.

While you are not going to land the job from a phone interview in most cases, you certainly can lose it… which means you’re going to have to work even harder to make sure you come off as captivating, capable, and above all, the perfect candidate.

When a recruiter calls you out of the blue, you can take one of two approaches: either accept the call or ask to reschedule because you are unable to talk at that moment. The best approach is to ask for a better time when you are in a quiet, safe environment, have your notes in front of you, and are mentally prepared for the interview. Most recruiters will understand that their timing may not be right and are willing to reschedule. But choose sometime within the next few hours or the next day, if possible, and not to a later date.

Here are our tips for making your phone interview a success:

  • Cut out all distractions:

First and foremost, make sure you present yourself in the most professional way possible, from the very first hello until the end of the call. If you’re doing the interview at home and you’re not alone, make sure everyone knows you’re going to be busy for a bit and to give you some privacy. Don’t lie down, don’t slouch, and make sure distractions are not going to be an issue. Find a good spot to sit down and have all your materials nearby for easy access.

  • Smile while on the phone:

Smiling can project a positive image to the listener and change the tone of your voice. It can also be helpful to stand during the interview, since this typically gives your voice more energy and enthusiasm, leaving a positive impression. This is where your attitude will show.

  • Listen carefully to the interviewer:

It's important to focus on the interview and concentrate on the interviewer. Let him or her guide the conversation and don't start speaking until the interviewer finishes. Be sure to listen to their questions, ask for clarification if you're not sure what the interviewer is asking, and speak slowly, carefully, and clearly when you respond.

  • Be ready for common phone interview questions:

Brief "yes" and "no" responses will not move a phone interview forward, but will end it quickly. So, start by practicing your answers to common interview questions now so that you are ready when an unplanned telephone interview occurs. After confirming that you meet the basic requirements (education, skills, and experience), these questions are typically asked on a phone screen: “Tell me about yourself” and “Why do you want to leave your current job?” The more you prepare now, the less you will stumble and omit from your answers during the actual interview, making your responses more targeted.

  • Take notes:

It can be hard to recall what was discussed after the interview, so keep a pencil and paper nearby and write down questions and take brief notes during the call. Review them at the end – maybe they mentioned something you want to follow up on via email, or a person to reach out to – and writedown the name and job title of the person who called.

Good luck!


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