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7 Ways to Ace Your Next Phone Interview

Topics: Career Advice

If you are busy job hunting, receiving an invitation for a phone interview is always an encouraging sign. Phone interviews tend to happen at the early stages of a recruiting process, so if you’re excited about the opportunity you’ll want to ace the first hurdle.

Here are seven tips to help you make the best impression on your next phone interview.

Do your research

You should prepare for a phone interview in the same way you would prepare for an in-person interview. Make sure to give yourself time to research the company, the role and the person you will be speaking to before you pick up the call.

phone anxiety

It’s helpful to prepare your responses to the interview questions you anticipate. Make sure to highlight the skills and experience the job description calls for and weave those into your responses.

Pick the best environment

Set yourself up for success by selecting the best location for your phone interview. It’s best to identify a quiet, enclosed space that’s free from distractions and has good phone reception.

Whenever possible use a landline so that you don’t have to worry that your connection will let you down. If that’s not an option, make sure your cell phone is fully charged and that you have reliable reception with little to no background noise.

Your goal is to make a positive, professional first impression. Selecting a secure, private space will allow you to focus and help you articulate your responses with clarity.

Get in the zone

Give yourself time to get “into the zone” before the phone interview begins. If you’re feeling nervous, work on your breathing and focus your mind on other interviews where you’ve performed well.

While it’s smart to have the job description, your resume and any important notes about the company or interviewer close at hand, don’t over-rely on your materials. Your interviewer will be able to tell if you’re reading from a prepared script. To build a rapport, you should be ready to be alert and responsive to the flow of the conservation.

Be enthusiastic

Always approach a phone interview as if you were meeting the interviewer in person. Dressing for the occasion is a good way to prep psychologically, as you’re likely to feel far more confident and professional in work attire than in your favorite workout gear.

Remembering to smile is a great way to convey your enthusiasm even when your interviewer can’t see you, as it will be reflected in your tone of voice.

Be a good listener

It’s easy to focus on delivering the best answers to the interviewer’s questions. To do that, it’s just as important to be a great listener. Whatever you do, don’t interrupt the interviewer when he or she is talking.

When you can’t see the person you’re talking to, it can be hard to pick up on their cues. Don’t feel the need to fill what may seem like an awkward pause in the conversation. Your interviewer will appreciate the space to take notes or frame their next question.

Pace yourself

Open ended questions can be hard to structure when you and your interviewer are not face to face.  Phone interviews tend to be brief, so practice keeping your answers short but impactful and to remain on topic.

Don’t mumble your answers or speak too quickly. Take your time with your responses. Remember, you don’t need to hit all your key achievements in response to the first question.

Remember to follow up with a thank you

After your phone interview is done remember to send a prompt thank-you note or email to your interviewer. Use it as an opportunity to offer your appreciation for the opportunity and reiterate your enthusiasm about the role. Fingers crossed, making it through your phone interview will take you one step closer to the second round.

Octavia Goredema is the founder and editor of Twenty Ten Talent, a career resource for talented young black women. Find her on Twitter at @OctaviaGoredema.

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Octavia Goredema
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