How to Ace Your Next Phone Interview

Phone interviews are the first step in the hiring process these days. Do you know how to make yours a success?

The hiring manager screens you over a quick 30 minute phone, and decides if you should be invited into the office for a face to face interview. This saves time and money for the company, but it makes it harder for you to prove yourself or make a lasting impression.

If you want the best jobs, you need to learn how to ace a phone interview. Follow these steps and you’ll be confident on your next phone interview.

Preparing for a Phone Interview

You can’t just pick up the phone and expect to ace your phone interview (believe me, I tried this once…it did not go well). Before you even receive that interview call, you should research the following:

  • Common interview questions you’ll need to answer
  • Questions to ask the interviewer
  • The background of the company (what they make, what they do, how they rank in their industry)
  • The future goals of the company
  • The qualifications needed for the job and how you meet them

Be sure to have answers to each one of those common interview questions (you know, like “Tell me your biggest challenge in a previous job and what you did to solve the problem”) and have a thorough knowledge of the company and the position you are applying for.

Eliminate Distractions During the Interview

Get rid of any and all distractions that could prevent you from making a great first impression.

Put the dog in another room. Ask family members or roommates to be quiet. Remove anything distracting from your desk or interview area. Find a quiet place where you can focus on only the interviewer and his/her questions.

Smile Through the Phone

Project enthusiasm and energy over the phone. Stand up and walk around the room while you do the interview. Smile even though no one can see you. Your energy will carry through and your interviewer will notice.

Project Confidence – With all your preparation and planning for this interview you should be fully prepared and confident that you are the best person they could hire for this job.

If you are still struggling with your confidence, try dressing up as if you were actually going in for the interview. Of course the interviewer won’t see that you are dressed up, but your confidence level will rise a few notches when you’re looking good vs. if you’re lying on the couch in sweatpants.

Interviewers Love Questions

As the interview winds down, it is inevitable that your interviewer will turn it over to you to see if you have any questions. Now is your chance to show you’ve read about the best interview questions to ask.

If you respond, “No, I’m all set,” it’s a complete turnoff for the interviewer and chances are good you won’t be getting a call back.

Instead, have a few questions prepared that you are genuinely interested in.

  • Ask about the team you would be working with.
  • What are they like?
  • What is the general atmosphere of the company?
  • Dig into the job itself some more to make sure you understand what you are applying for.

These are all great questions to ask toward the end of the interview.

Thank the Interviewer For Their Time

It takes a lot of work for HR to find the right candidate for a job.

They go through countless candidates and resumes before they even start the phone interview process. Then they can call ten or more people for phone interviews.

After all that, it would be a good idea for you to send them a little something to remind them who you are. A thank you is a perfect way to do this.

Many professionals believe that an email is the best way to go (24-48 hours after the interview), but I am a firm believer in sending them something tangible – a letter or card – immediately after the interview, draft up a letter of thanks for the time they took out of their schedule to interview you.

Remind them why you’re a good fit for the role. If the company was having a hard time deciding between another candidate and yourself, this letter might just bump you up to the top!