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8 Tips to Crush Your Next Phone Interview

Bonny Calfy | April 24, 2020

You’ve done it. You’ve landed a phone interview with a potential employer. That’s a big deal!  We’ve collected a few tips to set you apart as a strong candidate and nail your interview.

  1. Do your prep work

The most obvious piece of advice is to treat your phone interview exactly like any other interview, even down to how you dress. Dressing professionally, being ready five minutes early, researching the company and preparing questions for the interviewer are all standard interview prep techniques, and your phone interview should be no different. This will mentally prepare you for the task ahead.

  1. Schedule a mock interview

Ask a friend or family member to conduct a practice interview over the phone and then give you feedback. This is an easy way you can find out if you have a tendency to interrupt, rush or pepper your sentences with too many aaahs and umms. With a little work, you can coach yourself to sound clear and confident.

  1. Prepare a cheat sheet

The interviewer can’t see you, so they can’t see the notes you’ve prepared to help you crush this interview. Collect all the necessary details about the company and prepare notes about yourself. Are there strengths you want to highlight? Do you have past experiences or future goals that line up with the new position? Leave yourself a note and make sure you mention them. Pro tip: Use wireless earbuds to free up your hands, making it easy for you take additional notes during the interview.

  1. Smile

Seriously! If you’re smiling during your phone interview, it will change the timbre of your voice and the entire demeanor of the call, adding a positive flavor to the entire interaction. If you think we’re joking, read the previous sentence out loud two times; once with a frown and once with a smile. Which one would you rather hear on the other end of the phone?

  1. Use active listening

This is a two-way conversation, and you need to show you’re engaged in the exchange of ideas and information. Recapping key facts demonstrates you’re following along, and asking short, follow-up questions engages the interviewer while giving you more information about the position. These could be questions like, “When did this effort start,” or “What do you foresee as the future for Project X?” Even simple response such as, “I see” and “OK” express your participation in the conversation.

  1. Avoid technical issues

Dropped calls and dying phone batteries can ruin a phone interview, but you can easily prevent these problems with a little foresight. Make sure your phone is charged and that you have plenty of bars. Even better, try to conduct your phone interviews from a land line (they still exist, believe it or not). Most importantly, find a place that’s quiet and free of distractions. Turn off the TV or radio, and make sure your family or roommates know you’re not to be disturbed until the interview is over.

  1. Investigate the next step

A phone interview is also an easy way for recruiters to weed out unfit candidates. So, even if you killed it in this interview, make sure to ask the interviewer about the next step in the process. This demonstrates you’re an active participant who’s eager to move forward.

  1. Send a follow-up

Along the lines of the previous tip, sending a follow-up email is a great way to convey you’re interested and enthusiastic about the position. It also gives you a forum to quickly recap any points (applicable skills, experiences, etc.) from the phone interview that you’d like to emphasize one more time. And it doesn’t have to be an email. Thank-you cards work, too!

With these tips, you’re sure to ace your next phone interview and land the job.

About the author
Author picture, Bonny Calfy
Bonny Calfy
As Paycom’s employer brand supervisor, Bonny Calfy oversees all recruitment marketing and employer brand efforts nationwide. Her brand awareness efforts extend over 10 years and have included launching the Paycom Careers blog and social media channels and producing recruitment videos, all to help attract top talent nationwide. Outside work, Bonny enjoys reading; fishing; and spending time with her husband, children and friends.