You can do them in your pajamas, but that is not one of our serious phone interview tips!

In the past, interviews were about dressing formally and going to meet a potential employer in person. Employers and applicants would meet and feel the chemistry. In today’s busy digital and global world, interviews often take place over the phone. It may be a first interview (like a screening), so you are called in later for a more formal old fashioned face to face interview, or it may be your only opportunity to impress.

Getting the job you want still comes down to how well present yourself, even if it is over the phone. Even though you are not face to face there are some pitfalls to this type of interview.

A phone interview may seem more casual so you are attempted to take it less seriously. But wait, don’t turn the TV on! The reality is that you might need to work harder and smarter to make an impression when you are not face to face. This article has some phone interview tips to prepare in advance and help you make a great impression.

Find the right time

phone interview tips

Sometimes phone interviews come without warning. You get the call out of the blue. But that is not generally the case. If it does happen to you, practicing these tips will definitely help.

Even if you know when the call is coming, it can still throw you. If you can, arrange the interview so you have at least 45 minutes or an hour free for the interview. You may expect the interview to be over quickly, but the conversation may get into more depth and take longer. A longer call generally means you’re doing well and the last thing you want is to cut a good call short.

Plus, the interviewer may call a little late for whatever reason. Keep these phone interview tips about time in mind, so you don’t need to rush and you can relax into it.

Treat it like a regular interview

A phone interview is still an interview. So you need to be just as prepared and ready. If you are doing the interview from home, get out of your gym shorts and dress up a bit. This might help get you in the right frame of mind. Find the right place for the interview. Talking in bed might not be a good idea because the relaxation will reflect in your voice. Remember to follow these phone interview tips to keep it professional throughout.

Get rid of distractions

In this age of distractions, you might be tempted to have the TV on, quickly feed the dog or play a computer game while the interview is going on. That’s a bad idea. You need to avoid distractions that will be sensed, or heard, by the interviewer and affect your responses. If there are other people around, go into another room and shut the door, or ask them to stay very quiet. Too much background noise will disturb you and distract the person at the other end of the phone.

Prepare your space

Make yourself comfortable and find a good place where you can sit down. Have all your notes, resume, cover letter and preparation material easily accessible. If it is an early morning interview, get up even earlier so you don’t sound groggy. Set the air conditioning or heating at a comfortable temperature so you are comfortable.

If you will be using your cell phone, make sure the battery is charged. You don’t want to be caught with a dead battery in the middle of an interview. With these tiny phone interview tips, you will put your best foot forward.

Keep a cheat sheet handy

A big advantage of a phone interview is that you can keep notes handy. Prepare a list of questions you want to ask and write answers down. This will help you make a decision. After all, it is as much your decision to accept an offer, as it is theirs to make you an offer. You could also have some notes about the company and your own job history.

It’s comforting to know that you can refer to your notes in a telephone interview and don’t need to remember everything on the spot.

Listen first then talk

Let the interviewer speak first and then respond. Take notes while you’re listening. Also avoid giving your answer as soon as you think the interviewer has finished. Sometimes people pause and add more after the question. Give it a couple of seconds to avoid interrupting or talking over someone.

Also, slow down when you are talking. It helps the other person understand you better over the phone, and gives you time to think about what to say next. Pay attention to your choice of words and how loud (or quietly) you are talking.

Do the research

phone interview tips

You should know the kind of business the company does. Check out the company’s website and try to find some news or upcoming events. Look them up on LinkedIn. This way you will get some context so you can tailor your responses to their questions. You will have a good idea of where the company is going and what kind of person they are looking for. Include these in your cheat notes so you can be targeted and specific in your responses.

Ask for the next steps and contact information

Of all the phone interview tips, this one is the one that is forgotten most. The interview is almost over and you think it went well. But don’t hang up yet…

Take the initiative and ask the interviewer what’s going to happen next. This will show your enthusiasm about moving forward. Ask for contact information so you are able to follow up. Don’t leave things hanging just because you made it through a phone interview.

If you are given a phone interview, or think you may have one in the near future, practice and remember these phone interview tips. It will help your confidence and improve your overall performance if you do!

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