Phone Interview Preparation
As with an in-person interview, preparation is key. Prepare just as well for a phone interview as you would for an in-person interview. Otherwise, you might not get the chance to get a face-to-face interview.
When scheduling a phone interview with an interviewer, find out:
- The time of the call (and clarify any time zone differences)
- Who is calling whom (and on what phone number)
- How long to expect the call to last
- Any specific preparation required for the call
- Who will the call be with (name, job title)
On a piece of paper, write down the job title you are applying for, the company name, and key points you want to remember to make.
Create a “talking points” outline. These are key points you want to cover in the interview. This can include:
- Position and industry-specific accomplishments
- Unique assets you possess as an employee
- Information about the company that you learned from your research that ties into your skills, abilities, and qualifications
Anticipate the conversation — think about the questions you might be asked and the key points to include in your answers. Prepare a list of questions to practice for the phone interview.
You should also prepare questions ahead of time that you will ask in the interview.
One of the best ways to prepare for a phone interview is to practice. Tape-record the practice call so you can identify areas to improve. Practice speaking concisely and clearly. Many people are surprised to hear how they sound on the phone. One easy way to do this is to use a free conference call service, like Freeconferencing.com (freeconferencing.com). There is no cost to use the service; your only charge is for the long-distance call to access the conference line.
It is important to convey your enthusiasm in a phone interview — which can be done through your voice pitch, tone, and volume.
Thinking through where you will conduct an interview is critical. Pick a location that will be free from distracting background noises — kids, pets, phones ringing. Turn off the TV, computer, and/or iPad. Hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door.
Dress for an interview — even if it is a phone interview. This can help put you in the right “frame of mind” for your interview.
It can help to find a photo of your interviewer and look at that while you are on the call.
Do a “dry run.” Call a friend or family member and have them test the phone connection (volume) and whether there is anything distracting that may affect the call.
The more you prepare, the better. Review the company’s website. Google your interviewer. Make sure you are thoroughly familiar with the job description or job posting.
Prepare an opening and closing statement in advance. The opening statement might be the answer to “Tell me about yourself.” This should include a 30- to 60-second statement of why you are qualified for the job, based on what you know about the position. The closing statement should include your desire to work for the company, reiterating your interest in the job. But do not read these word-for-word.
Next, we will take a look at Phone Interview Do’s and Don’ts