Top 5 Tips to Crush Your Next Phone Interview

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Phone interviews are typically the first round of the job interviewing process. Companies tend to use it as a way to narrow down their pool of candidates, and get to know you better. A phone interview might seem scary because you can’t see how your job interviewers react, or pick up on any physical cues…are they engaged? Did they even crack a smile that that joke you made? But, with the right preparation and techniques these fears won’t even be on your radar. Before you get on the phone for that next interview review these tips and techniques to crush the call, and sail right into the next round.

1. Do Your Homework.

Take time before the call to familiarize yourself with the company- check out their website, recent developments, social media accounts, etc. Learn what the company really does, the products or services they offer, and the industry they operate in. Feel free to stalk your interviewer on LinkedIn, it doesn’t hurt to find a common connection or put a face to the name. Take time to prepare answers any questions you think they might ask you, or basic interview questions like “Why do you want to work for us?” “Name a time you faced a challenge and how did you overcome it” or the dreaded “Tell me your strengths weaknesses.”

2. Find a Quiet Place

Plan ahead where you are going to take the phone call, and make sure it’s a quiet place that has good reception. Avoid a place where there might be background noise or other people present. Starbucks might be a great place to get a coffee, but not so much for a phone interview. If you can do the call on a landline even better. If you’re doing the call at home, don’t be washing the dishes, or watching TV at the same time. Focus on the call, move away from any distractions.

3. Have a Cheat Sheet

Take advantage of the fact the interview can’t see you through the phone. Have your resume and the job description in front of you, and any brief information about the company or talking points you want to emphasize that might be helpful in a crunch. That being said, do not read word for word the information you have like a script.

4. Speak Professionally

Just because this is over the phone, and you may be sitting in your ten year old pajamas, doesn’t mean you should throw all your professionalism out the window. Pauses are fine. It is much better to pause and take time think for a few seconds, than to say ummm or uhhh for 5 seconds straight while you try to think of an answer. If you didn’t hear a word they said, or need clarification, don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat it. Make sure you enunciate your words as well. Eating, drinking, or chewing gum while on the call is a big no. Pause for a brief second to make sure interviewer is done speaking before you start talking, to avoid interrupting them.  

5. Show Enthusiasm!!

Just because the interviewer might not be able to see that huge smile on your face, doesn’t mean they won’t be able to pick up on your tone. Be enthusiastic and excited when talking to them. It’s easy to sound bored or disengaged over the phone, so make sure you are really paying attention and showing genuine interest in what they are saying. Even though they can’t see it, dressing the part and sitting up straight at a desk or standing up might help you stay more engaged and put you in a more professional mindset.

Keep in mind a few questions you want to ask the interviewer towards the end of the call, and find out what the next steps are regarding the position. Follow up with a thank you email and you are set! Boom, crushed it!

Ariana Salas