Handling a Phone Interview

Often, when you are applying for new positions you are going to end up with at least one if not more phone interviews.

These are often used to screen candidates in order to narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for in person interviews.

They are also used to minimize expenses for out of town candidates.

Don’t let this scare you off. Make it work to your advantage.

Here are some tips to prepare:  

  1. Compile a list of your strengths and weaknesses – Often we don’t think of these right away when we are on the spot so always keep a list handy so that you can easily tell the interviewer what they are without forgetting something.
  2. Know your background and skills to be able to discuss them – Make these relevant to the position you are applying for. Don’t tell the interviewer about your days scooping ice cream during high school if you are applying for a technical position for example.
  3. Keep your resume in clear view – This way you always have it ready to go over anything the interviewer may question you on.
  4. Prepare a short list of your accomplishments – Make sure that you shine.
  5. Have a pen and paper ready for note taking – You want to get the interviewer to invite you for an in person interview. Take notes and also put down the date, time, address and a phone number to contact if you need to for the in person interview.
  6. Clear the room – make sure the kids, spouse, pets etc. are not in the background. This is unprofessional and distracting.
  7. Use a landline if possible – You don’t want to have a dropped call on something this important.
  8. Consider a headset. I love mine for conference calls and bridge calls. It frees me up to take notes and keeps my neck and hand from getting stiff from holding a phone for long periods of time. My headset has a noise reduction feature which helps filter out sounds.
  9. Mock interview – Have a friend conduct a mock interview with you as well and record it. That way you can see how you sound and know how many fillers (um, uh, etc.) that you use so you can alter that and practice taking them out all together.

In part 2 I will go over tips for during and after the interview. Stay tuned!