Phone Interviewing Dos Donts

How to Ace a Phone Interview

These days in-person interviews are not necessarily mandatory to get hired for a position. Especially if you are applying to a position outside of your immediate area, the hiring manager may find it most prudent to give you a call instead of having you travel. Conversely, if the interviewer is pooling for a large group of candidates, a phone interview may be one of the early steps of the application process.

The great thing about this type of interview is the lack of body language. Often, one of the most difficult goals for even the most experienced professionals is not fidgeting. A hiring manager will usually base a fair amount of his or her judgments on the way you physically present yourself. Without this element available, you don’t have to worry about purchasing a new business suit or even doing your make up. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t phone interview dos donts.

Because you are not able to present a physical presence, the way you speak and answer questions becomes even more important. You have to find other ways of reassuring the hiring manager that you are the best individual for the position. Presenting your best face is not necessarily harder over the phone, but it is different from a face-to-face meeting. Since you are likely to be in your home, you have a unique set of distractions that simply wouldn’t exist in a traditional office setting. As such, you should prepare with these phone interview dos donts.

The Dos

Before you do anything else, make sure the contact information you provide is completely accurate. If you mistype your phone number, the hiring manager will not be able to contact you and may be forced to move on to another individual. Next in the phone interview dos donts, listen to your voicemail message. If you have a lengthy or silly greeting, you may make the wrong impression on your prospective employer. Additionally, if you have the factory greeting that simply states your phone number, change it to a message that states your name and a brief, but professional greeting.

If you have roommates or live with your family, let them know about your job interview and that you are expecting a call. Make it clear how important it is to answer the phone politely and take messages. Also, set up a quiet space in your home in advance. Have a note pad and pen nearby just in case you need to take notes. Furthermore, follow these guidelines regarding phone interview dos donts:

  • Know which job and employer you are interviewing for.

    • Practice a mock phone interview in advance.
  • Have your resume and/or portfolio in front of you during the call.

  • Ensure you have good signal and can be heard clearly.

    • Finish with thoughtful questions.

    Remember, just like in a face-to-face interview, keep your responses to the hiring manager’s questions positive and focus on what makes you the best possible candidate for the job.

    The Don’ts

    Think about when you talk to your friends on the phone. You often hear background noises and have to decipher when your peers are talking to you or someone on their end. This is a major don’t on the list of phone interview dos donts. Do not repeat this behavior during your interview.

    Phone interview dos donts can be endless, but here are some major points to remember on the don’ts side:

  • Do not chew gum, eat food, drink beverages or anything similarly noisy.

  • Do not sneeze, cough or sniffle. If you must engage in these behaviors avoid doing so directly over the phone’s microphone.

  • Do not be afraid to let the interviewer know up front about any special needs such as hearing disabilities.

  • Do not chatter simply to fill in a silence or empty space. Focus on answering the question and wait for the next one.

  • Do not complete the phone call in a noisy or crowded place. Instead, find the quietest space available.

    You will usually have a heads up as to when the phone call will take place. If you can, suggest a time that works best for you such as when you will have the opportunity to be alone in your home. Also, make sure you have more than enough time to complete the interview.

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