Phone interviews help employers narrow down their candidate pool in a relatively quick way and make sure they only spend valuable time and effort meeting face to face with top contenders. For a lot of job seekers, phone screenings can be more challenging and nerve-wracking than regular interviews. A lack of visual cues means your voice and the quality of your responses must carry all the weight. Without nonverbal feedback, it’s difficult to fully know how the interview is going and if you should adjust your approach.
If you’re anxious about an upcoming phone interview, there are many steps you can take to boost your confidence. First and foremost, treat the phone interview just as seriously as you would an in-person interview. Prepare, prepare, and prepare some more! Next, use these additional tips to ensure the call goes swimmingly.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get ready. Gear up for the call with some deep, cleansing breaths, or do some jumping jacks to work out nervous energy (but not so many that you’re huffing and puffing when you answer the phone). Just as you would give yourself extra time to arrive at an in-person interview, budget extra minutes into your schedule prior to the call to center yourself and get in the zone.
- Find a quiet and secure place. To the best of your ability, take the call in a room where outside noises can’t be heard and significant others, children, and/or pets can’t barge in. Eliminate distractions within the room as well and disable alerts on your phone.
- Double-check your phone’s battery level and reception. You’ll have enough on your mind during the interview. Don’t let easily avoided technical difficulties rattle your composure.
- Have a glass of water within reach. Sore throat? Nervous cougher? Have a glass of water handy to sip quietly as needed. The call could be short and sweet, or evolve into a more in-depth conversation, so be ready for either scenario.
- Print and lay out essential documents. One advantage of phone interviewing is you can have as many “cheat sheets” out in front of you as you want (much like an open-book exam). You can also take notes freely. Be careful not to overdo it and risk being heard scrambling for a piece of paper while on the phone.
- Smile and sit (or stand) up straight while you speak. The person on the other end can’t see you, but you’d be surprised at the difference a smile and upright posture can make in your voice. Some may find it beneficial to wear their favorite power suit as well – dress in whatever makes you feel confident.
- Speak slowly. This tip applies to in-person interviewing as well. If you need a moment to respond to a question, take it. Don’t rush with an inadequate answer. Also, waiting a few seconds before you respond ensures that the interviewer is finished speaking (remember: phone interviews lack those essential visual cues).
- Make more phone calls. Having lengthy conversations with people on the phone has fallen by the wayside for a lot of us in today’s age of texting and tweets. If you’re out of practice, call a few family members and friends to rebuild your phone etiquette.
Lily Zhang – The #1 Mistake People Make on Phone Interviews
Katie Finley – Why Phone Interviews Are So Hard—and How to Ace Them Anyway
Jeff Gillis – 8 Phone Interview Tips That Will Land You A Second Interview
Andrew G. Rosen – 17 Tips to Ace Your Next Phone Interview
Amy Levin-Epstein – Ace Your Phone Interview: 21 Quick & Simple Tips