Phone interviews can range in importance from being a simple “get to know you” to being a “one and done” decision-making interview. Many companies opt to screen candidates over the phone before inviting them into the office for more in-depth interviews. No matter the situation, phone screenings require unique preparations. These four tips will help you feel just as comfortable job interviewing remotely as you do with your in-person charm.
1. Know who is calling and double check the time zone
A good interviewer should make it clear if they expect you to initiate the call. That being said, if you’re both waiting for the phone to ring when the time rolls around, it’s you who looks bad. Avoid a rocky start to the interview by confirming who is going to call whom. If you’re interviewing from afar, don’t forget to check the time zone conversions.
2. Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted or distracted
Try not to take the call while you’re on the go. Traffic, chatter, lawn mowers, and dishwashers can take attention away from the conversation. Put a sign on the door so no one walks in during your interview. Wear headphones to reduce outside noises. As your body language affects your tone of voice, make sure you sit tall in a chair or have room to pace around.
3. Touch up your interview prep 10 minutes before the call
When you interview in person, you have the drive over and the wait in the lobby to get in the right headspace. Conversely, a phone interview can be sandwiched abruptly between your daily activities. So, set aside the final moments before the interview to mentally prepare yourself. Doing so will keep you calm and collected as you give your answers.
4. Have your resume and the job description in front of you
The best part about a phone interview is that you don’t need to maintain eye contact, so you are free to use a cheat-sheet when you get stuck. This doesn’t mean you won’t need to prepare, but it can ease your nerves if you tend to freeze up under pressure. Remember, you should never read directly from pre-written answers, your resume, or the job description.