How to Ace a Phone Interview
When open positions receive a large number of applicants or even have applicants from far away, potential employers often conduct phone interviews prior to in-person interviews. If the art of a phone interview is new to you, here's a guide to what to do before, during and after the call!
Before the Interview
- Keep a contact list easily accessible that includes the company name, position and contact information for each position for which you apply. This way, when a prospective employer calls, you can quickly figure out who is calling and about what job; if you don't know this basic information right away, you may come across as unorganized.
- If possible, give the employer a phone number that only you will answer. If you provide a number that someone else may answer, be sure that person will take a complete and detailed message and inform you immediately when a prospective employer calls.
- Return calls from a prospective employer within 24 hours. If you wait much longer, they may think you are no longer interested.
- If the employer calls unexpectedly, explain that you would like to talk but you are busy at the moment. Politely ask if you could schedule time to talk later in the day or week. This gives you time to mentally prepare for the interview, review your resume and the job description, and think about any questions you'd like to ask.
During the Phone Call
Treat the phone interview as you would an in-person interview. Make sure you have a quiet place to go during the interview, and advise your family or roommates that you are not to be disturbed. Have a glass of water in ready in case you are thirsty during the call, and take time to carefully consider each question before you answer.
It's also good to have a copy of your resume and the job description on hand as well as a pen and paper so you can take notes. Toward the end of the call, ask about the next step in the process; this shows your interest and helps you understand what to expect. Finally, don't forget to get the interviewer's contact information so you can follow up with them later.
After You Hang Up
Send a note to the interviewer thanking him or her for the time spent with you. Include a sentence or two about why you're a good fit for the position, if possible relating it to something you talked about on the phone. If there was a question you didn't answer particularly well during the interview, this is also your opportunity to briefly expand upon what you said on the phone.
Remember, if you excel, this phone interview might land you that perfect position, or at least get you one step closer!