More and more companies are relying on phone screens, or phone interviews, as a preliminary gauge of whether or not a candidate should be invited for an in-person interview. Phone interviews are generally less expensive and time-intensive for the company, so don’t be surprised if you are contacted for this type of interview.
Some candidates don’t feel a phone interview is a real interview, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, this may be your gateway for getting in the door at a company, so don’t blow it on the phone!
1. Treat the phone interview the same way you would an in-person job interview.
This means that you should be focused and come prepared with knowledge of both the company and the job. One benefit of having a phone interview is that you can have company materials in front of you for handy reference. Some people like to have the company’s website in front of them on a computer screen and others like to have a copy of their resume or job description.
Figure out what works best for you and have those things available before you take the call. Be sure that you aren’t typing while you’re doing the phone interview. The interviewer may be able to hear your keyboard clicking, so pull up all the necessary websites and documents a few minutes before your scheduled call time.
2. If you must take the call from your cell phone, make sure you are in an area that has good reception and you’re in a quiet environment.
Background noises are very distracting to the interviewer and you want to make sure that the interviewer knows you are taking the interview seriously. If you take the call at a coffee shop or restaurant, you really aren’t in control of the ambient noise. Would you want a screaming toddler to interrupt your train of thought and be distracting to the person on the other end of the phone? Probably not.
If you don’t have a quiet space available in your home, check with your local library to see if they have a meeting space you can reserve for free.
3. Eliminate any distractions while on the phone.
For example, turn off your computer’s speakers, find a babysitter for your children, put your dog outside, etc. You should only be focusing on what the interviewer is saying. It’s very difficult to do so when there are other things competing for your attention.
After the phone interview concludes, send a quick e-mail to your interviewers to thank them for their time. This goes a long way in indicating that you are still interested in the position.