Managers of busy departments will often interview a candidate over the phone before investing the time to meet face-to-face.  If you receive a request for a phone interview this is great news! The manager liked what they saw on paper and is interested in finding out more about you. Utilize the tips below to make sure that you give a strong impression to the hiring manager.

Practice your Responses: Review commonly asked questions that may be presented to you during the phone interview. A good place to start is here.  Take it one step further and record your responses. You may find that you say “um” or “like” frequently and can make a conscious effort to change it.

Research the Job and Company: Go to the company’s website and spend some time navigating and reading the different pages. Pay special attention to any “about us” sections. See what others say about the company on Glassdoor, and plug the company name into your favorite search engine. We generally ask internal candidates “based on your research, what do you know about our company that interests you?”

Plan your Interview Setting and Questions: The manager will expect your undivided attention. Make sure that you have a QUIET area ready that will be free from kids, pets, and any other background noise. Use a landline if possible. If you do not have a landline then ensure that your quiet space has strong cell phone reception to reduce the risk of a poor connection or dropped call. Write down questions that you have about the company or position; not only do you want to impress the interviewer but you also want to make sure the company is a good fit for you.  Remember that at this point it is not appropriate to ask about benefits or time off. If you are unsure of what to ask click here for some ideas.

Sit Down and Take the Call: Generally the hiring manager will call you. Be ready at least 5 minutes before the call. Make sure that you are showered and dressed; this call is important- don’t take it in pajamas.  Have a glass of water ready in case you get parched. Sit on a chair at a desk or other place where you can take notes. Do not sit in a recliner, lie on your couch or pace. You want to sit as if the interviewer is in the room with you. SMILE when you answer the phone and throughout the interview; Your body language and non-verbal cues will resonate through your voice.

Focus, Listen and Take Notes: It can be easy to sit back and relax in your home. Don’t do it. Sit forward in your chair, write difficult or lengthy questions down so you can reference them as you give your answers. Have bullet point notes in front of you of key talking points and your questions. Listen to the questions and think about them.  Make sure that your answers are thoughtful, relevant, and complete. This is your time to shine!

Close Strong and Follow Up: Ask one to three of your prepared questions that were not answered in the interview. If it is true, let the interviewer know “I am very interested in this opportunity, and if an offer was extended to me I would accept”.  Tell the interviewer that you would love to meet them in person to discuss the position further. Send a brief email within an hour thanking the interviewer for their time, and include a talking point from the interview.

Phone interviews can either be the deciding factor or else the first step in the interview process. Be prepared, be confident, and be professional. By utilizing the above tips you will set yourself apart from your competition who might take the call from their couch with the TV and dogs in the background. You can end the call knowing that the manager was impressed. Good luck- you can do this!


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