Phone interviews are the first step in the interview process, but they often feel less important than in-person phone interviews. They are shorter and less formal, but if you don’t ace the phone interview, you won’t get called for an in-person interview. Increase your chances of moving to the next round by using these strategies to stand out on your next phone interview.
Confirm the Appointment the Day Before
Reaching out to the interviewer the day before the call can start things off on a positive note. It shows you are conscientious and you are taking the phone interview seriously. You may also want to confirm the length of time you’ve set aside for the interview, so you aren’t blindsided by a conversation that goes 30 minutes when you only blocked 15.
Review the Job Posting Before the Call
Make sure you are familiar with the job posting before the interviewer calls you. This is especially important if you are involved in an active search and you’ve applied for several positions. Print out a copy of the job description and have it in front of you during the call, along with a copy of your resume. Take this time to hop back on the company website and LinkedIn page to be sure you’re familiar with the firm and what it does, as well.
Dress the Part
If you are at home during a phone interview, resist the urge to take the call in your pajamas or sweatpants, no matter how tempting it may be. Instead, dress like you are going to work. It might sound silly, but it will get you in a professional frame of mind. You should also avoid sitting on your couch or lounging on your deck. Stay indoors in a quiet area with no interruptions, and sit at a table or desk. Sitting up helps you stay focused and professional, while slouching in an easy chair puts you in a relaxed and lazy mood, and it will come through in your voice.
Ask the Right Questions
The objective of the phone interview is to assess whether you are a good fit for the position. While it is important to ask a few questions of the interviewer, this is not the time to get into questions about compensation or benefits, unless the interviewer brings it up. Instead, ask questions directly related to the responsibilities of the job, and always end by asking the interviewer about next steps to reinforce your interest.
Send a Thank-You Email
A phone interview is still an interview, and it pays to show good manners. Even if you thanked the interviewer for their time on the call, send a quick thank-you email after you get off the phone. When it comes time to make a list for callbacks, you want to be the person who took the time to say thanks. Keep it brief, but reiterate your continued interest in the position and your understanding of the next steps.