How to Make a Good Impression During a Phone Interview
Phone interviews are just slightly different from regular face-to-face interviews. Sometimes as a prospective employee, we might not take it as seriously as we would in person. But that’s a mistake, this is your chance to get to the next stage. And whilst it’s no less detrimental than any other interview, it can be easier. Here are our best tips to ace your phone interview.
- Much like you do for a regular interview, prepare and research
Know everything about the company you can possibly find. Understand their vision and the kind of culture that they have. It will come in especially helpful if they ask, “So do you know much about [insert company name]?” It is always useful to imagine the kinds of questions an interviewer would ask so that you can have an idea of the answers you want to give. For a phone interview, you can write these prompts down and refer to them as needed. Don’t leave anything to last minute and search it up as you talk, for one thing, you’ll be pausing strangely without realising, reading and not listening and whoever is on the other end of the phone will likely hear you typing.
- Make sure you are in a comfortable and quiet environment
Don’t allow for any distractions. Make sure the environment is quiet (without children and partners) and has good phone reception. For me, I pace when I’m on the phone, therefore I would find a room with enough space to do so. Also avoid tidying up the space you are in or fidgeting around with things that may make you lose your train of thought.
- Make sure you have access to pen and paper
You may need to write down details they give you, otherwise, you may just want to take notes that you can use or think about for the next interview. If successful, you’ll need a pen and paper to jot down a time and date for a face-to-face interview.
- Use their name
Always, even in person, use the interviewer's name. It is especially useful on the phone because you are making a human connection without needing to use body language or eye contact.
- Listen carefully
Listen intently. Sometimes, we can listen with the worry of replying and misunderstand or even zone out during a question. Don’t fret, just ask for the question again or what they meant by that question (if it was confusing). Listen before you speak and don’t interrupt the interviewer.
- Answer as you would in person
Be careful not to speak too fast and don’t mumble. Don’t eat on the phone or do anything you wouldn’t in person. Pronounce your words clearly and be confident. It’s easier to be confident when you don’t have the interviewer’s eyes directly on you. If you need to pause, let them know in a polite way, for example, “Oh wow, good question, let me think about that”. If you have your answer prompts written out, you can go to them if you get stuck and feel nervous – though don’t depend on prompts for the entire interview. If there is a question you haven’t thought up an answer to you may get caught off guard and cause an awkward phone silence.
- Have questions prepared
Like a face to face interview, show your interest with questions. And if you are interested in going further with that company, ask about the next step in the interview process. As well as questions, it’s important to thank the interviewer for the call and for their time. Inform them that you appreciate their consideration.
- Send a thank you note
Email after the interview and say a second thank you. An interviewer may have placed 4 - 5 calls that afternoon of which you were just one. You will stand out if you follow up thanking them again – they will visualise your name and voice as well as just hearing it that day.
Bonus Note: Smile as you speak, often you can hear a smile through the phone which creates a positive interaction.