Making The Cut – How To Ace A Phone Interview

Phone interviews feel like the new normal today. You might have one ahead of a face-to-face interview or it might replace the old-fashioned interview process in some cases. Regardless of how you feel about them, you need to learn to ace them so you can move on to the next stage of hiring. How do you do that when the interview is scheduled as well as when it’s a surprise? Let’s take a closer look.

Do Your Homework

When you send your resume to a job, make some notes about the company. This way, if you get a call out of the blue you can pull up your notes and recall who they are. If you do have a scheduled call, be sure to research the company as much as you can. Learn what they do, their involvement with the community, and determine why you want to work there.

Plan to Be Comfortable

There is one thing that a phone has over a face-to-face interview: you don’t have to dress to impress. It’s okay to be comfortable. In fact, if you’re uncomfortable, you could fidget which can come across on the call as if you’re disinterested and not paying attention.

Listen Well

To that point, be sure you’re listening to the caller. What they have to say is important and will set up the next steps of the process. Don’t listen just to respond. One great way to internalize what they’re saying is to take notes while they talk. That way you can also refer back to them when necessary.

Smile and Sit Straight

More than the clothes you’re wearing, you need to pay attention to your posture. It’s true, the person on the other end of the phone can tell when you’re smiling. To project a positive disposition, sit up straight and smile when you’re talking, and even when you’re just listening. It can make all the difference.

Say Thank You

Don’t forget to thank them for their time. Say thank you on the call and send them a  thank-you note via email after the call. A thank-you note is a great time to mention things you forgot on the call. For example, say something like, “When you asked me about my experience, I forgot to mention this.” Then you can elaborate.

Follow Up

In your call, you should ask them about the next steps. If they say they will schedule an interview, find out when you might hear back from them. If you don’t, that’s the time to follow up. Send them a quick email to find out where they are in their interviews and if there is anything else they need from you moving forward.

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