We’ve already told you how to prepare an outstanding resume, and how to nail a job interview. But what about a phone interview? The growth of digitalisation has created an increase in the number of phone interviews big companies conduct, saving them the time that usually goes into calling in multiple applicants for live interviews. Jobs in different cities or countries also usually culminate in a phone or Skype interview. These can take the pressure off because you’re not sitting face to face, so there’s a little less to be intimidated about. Having said that, you also lose the opportunity to sway them with your body language and physical confidence. Everything relies on the quality of your answers, and how well you can deliver them. Don’t sweat it though – we’ve got your covered. Go through these tips to ticking all the right boxes, and watch yourself slide into the new job of your dreams with one simple phone call.
1. Practice Your Answers in Advance
Phone interviews are comparatively shorter than physical ones, so there’s less time to get warmed up — you have to be on the ball from the get go. The key to preparing is to get familiar with the typical questions you could expect to be asked. If you know other people who have interviewed at the same company previusly, ask them to give you a few pointers. Once you have a few mock questions in hand, prepare your answers. Create a cheat sheet with pointers in front of you, and build up your confidence by going through a mock interview with a friend over the phone first.
2. Prepare A Cheat Sheet
Going off what we said before, you should always make a cheat sheet for phone interviews. The benefit of them is that you aren’t physically in front of anyone, so you have the advantage of being able to assemble some relevant material around you to refer to. Make the most of it and note down everything you think you might need. From the companies basic information, to questions you’d want to ask them in return. Make a list of your accomplishments, and a list of points you want to stress upon. Having this in front of you will keep you from going blank! Make sure it doesn’t sound like you’re reading off a script though — they’ll be able to tell.
3. Keep Your Materials Handy
You’re most likely to be asked questions about the information you’ve provided them in your resumé and cover letter. Keep these documents handy during your interview! Along with them, have your cheat sheet, and a pen and paper for taking notes in front of you. This way they won’t be able to catch you off guard, and you’ll sound like you’re thoroughly prepared.
4. Pick A Calm Spot
If it’s the first time you’re giving an interview on the phone, it’s likely you’ll find it even more stressful than a live one. You might not be sure what to expect from the new format. To make sure your nerves are calm, sit in a quiet, well lit room where you can talk without any interruptions or distractions.
5. Listen Carefully
Not only is this some basic etiquette that you should practice during any interview process, but it’ll also help you answer better. Careful listening allows you to ask follow up questions or clarifications. This establishes you as an aware, present, and conscientious listener to your possible future employer. First really listen, and then respond.
6. Focus On Your Voice And Language
Since the interviewer cannot see you, the burden of making a good impression lies solely on your voice. Clear your throat with some vocal exercises before the call, and loosen up your tongue. Drink plenty of water as well! Nervousness can dry up your mouth, and you won’t have time to take any water breaks during the interview itself. Speak clearly, stay confident, and use positive language. Keep your voice balanced, speed slow, and avoid using slang.
You may find this bit crazy, but don’t underestimate the power of a smile. It will make you sound more energetic, more engaged, and friendlier. It also has a positive subconscious effect on you. If you don’t believe us, test it out for yourself by recording two identical voice messages – one with, and one without smiling. You’ll be able to hear (and feel) a difference.
8. Follow Up With A Thank You Note
You should definitely thank them at the end of the interview, but go one step further. Write a thank you note – once again, mention your deep desire to work with the company, your interest in the field of work, and ability to do the job. Send the letter the next business day. This will reinforce whatever impression the interviewer had of you, and will make you stand out in a group of candidates.