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How to nail a phone interview

It’s easy to get a little lazy during a phone interview. While the interviewer may not know that you’re still in your jammies and have bed-head, it may subtly change how you conduct yourself. Let’s face it, there’s nothing quite as relaxed as talking to a prospective employer from the comfort of your living room in your shorts and T-shirt. But if you want to improve your chances of landing the job, you’d do well to treat the phone interview like an in-person meeting. 

The Future of the Phone Interview

Phone interviews are becoming increasingly more common as Hiring Managers seek fast, effective methods of screening out unqualified applicants. They are also a highly effective method of choosing a select few to be invited in for a face-to-face interview. If you want to be one of those chosen few, put into practice some of the tips outlined above. Your employment status will thank you for it.

But the phone interview is far from easy.

Fast Company reported on research that showed 55% of all communication is transmitted via body language. That means even the best phone interview will only give a taste of your true potential as a candidate. Phone interviews are great, but there are always subtleties during the interaction that are simply missed.

Since the phone interview is usually one of the first big hurdles to your next gig, it’s important to conduct yourself in a specific way to avoid these pitfalls.

Best Practices for Phone Interviews

Here’s the good news: We have all the tips that will help you prepare and stay sharp for your next phone screen.

Tip 1: Never go to the restroom during your interview

This is not a joke. Hearing the sound of running water during the phone screen will make an impression — but probably not the one you wanted to make. While most of us have embraced multi-tasking as an art form, it might be best to find a quiet space and stay focused completely on the call. Eliminate ambient noise and distractions; while a barking dog may endear you to the interviewer, it may also throw you off your game.

Bottom line: find a quiet space. Eliminate as much noise around you as possible by closing yourself into your office or some other room where distractions will be at a minimum. If you live with someone, let them know about your scheduled interview so they won’t interrupt you...including Fido.

Tip 2: Channel your inner Boy Scout

Being prepared is probably the number one suggestion for any interview. When the phone rings, you should have everything at your fingertips that you need to nail the interview. Have a copy of the cover letter and resume you sent along with the ad or job description where you applied.

Open your laptop or desktop to the company website, and always have a list of questions to ask the interviewer. In 99% of phone interviews, the Recruiter or HR staffer will probably offer to answer questions. Take the time beforehand to develop killer queries designed to impress. (Need some to ask? Here are 79 of our favorites.)

Tip 3: Know when to talk and when to listen

Since you’ll be missing those all-important bodily cues, you’ll have to use language to help move the conversation forward. Don’t let a story trail off into awkwardness; use verbal cues to help guide the discussion. For example, try ending your response with “Did that answer your question?” Or, if you’re telling a story, end it with something like, “That’s how I solved the problem.”

Give frequent verbal confirmations that you’re following along, but don’t overdo it to the point of interrupting. Complete silence during a phone interview probably won’t play to your advantage.

Bonus Tip: Clear your calendar

It should go without saying, but if you’ve got a busy schedule, allow for the interview to run at least an hour. In some cases this may be plenty of time — in others, just enough. While it’s not likely that you’ll ever find yourself wrapped up in a phone interview that lasts longer than an hour, better to be safe than sorry. Informing the person on the other end of the phone that you’ve got to “wrap it up” because you’ve got other urgent matters could hurt your chances of getting the job. 

Want to Schedule One?

To find out more about if the best tips and tricks are working for you, pick up the phone and practice your technique. Then contact us. Artisan is standing by to help you land your next great adventure. To speak with one of our job-savvy experts, contact us today or check out our open jobs.

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