Although most job interviews will take place face-to-face, you may occasionally be asked to partake in a phone interview. This is exactly the same as a regular interview except you will be talking to the hiring manager over the phone. Although it may initially seem like this would be a much easier interview to prepare for, there are still numerous ways to come across as unprofessional. By following some very basic rules of etiquette, you will nail your next phone interview.
Although the interviewer will most likely schedule a time in which he or she will contact you, it is still possible for you to miss the call. It happens, and this is why you should have a professional answering message on your phone. This means leaving a simple message along the lines of: “Hi, you’ve reached [your name]. I’m unable to come to the phone right now, but please leave a message after the beep.” Having a funny voicemail is unlikely to earn you any brownie points with the hiring manager, so keep it short and simple. In the event that you do miss the call, you should return it as soon as you can.
You should also make sure you are in an area where you will get good reception. If you have a house phone this should not be a problem, but if you have given the interviewer a cell number, you do not want to be somewhere outside your home where reception will be spotty. If you have told the hiring manager that you are free to interview at 1:00 P.M., then you should be somewhere where you can talk for 10 to 20 minutes without incident.
Too many job candidates make the mistake of thinking that phone interviews do not require the same level of research as a typical interview. This is a big mistake. You do not want the hiring manager to hear the pitter patter of a keyboard typing while you are frantically trying to conduct research on the company. You should do your research beforehand and have answers ready for typical interview questions so that you will not come across as unprepared.
If you live with anyone, it is a good idea to inform them that you will have a phone interview so that they do not make a bunch of noise. You do not want a vacuum cleaner going off in the background when you are trying to listen to vital questions. Although it may not seem like what you look like is important, you should definitely wear something at least semi-professional. Interviewing in your pajamas could affect the way you conduct yourself, so make sure to take a shower, eat something and get dressed before you have your interview.
Since the interviewer will not be able to see your professionalism, the way you conduct yourself verbally is of the utmost importance. You should be aware if you tend to pause a lot in your speech or if you have a tendency to say “Umm” or “Uhh” a lot. It is okay to pause at certain moments when you have to think about your answer, but for the most part, you should be ready to talk about your prior job experiences and what you have to offer the company.
You should avoid putting the call on speaker phone since in some cases it can make your voice harder to hear. If you are going to put someone on speaker phone, you should tell them that you are going to do it beforehand. Listening is crucial in a phone interview so that you do not interrupt the hiring manager when he or she is in the middle of saying something. You will not have the advantage of reading body language, so you need to listen to everything being told to you extremely carefully.
Once the phone interview is over, you should send a quick thank you letter via email. It does not need to be particularly long or detailed. You just want to thank the interviewer for taking the time to speak with you and reiterate your interest in the position. Generally, phone interviews are conducted before the actual face-to-face interview, so there may be more to the process, or you may hear a decision just from talking to the employer on the phone. Either way, you should be skilled to handle a phone interview so that you can make a good impression on the prospective employer.