Seven More Tips for a Successful Phone Interview (part 2)

Seven More Tips for a Successful Phone Interview (part 2)

In my last article, I gave some advice to candidates on how to be successful in a phone interview. While it wouldn’t be possible to list every possible thing you should remember to do in a phone interview, here are seven more solid tips to help you make the best possible impression when being interviewed by telephone.

1. Remember that this is an initial interview. Virtually no employer would ever hire someone on the strength of a phone interview alone. Your goal in a phone interview will almost always be to get an in-person interview. Therefore, what you are doing on this call is selling yourself. While you should definitely ask thoughtful questions, at this stage you should avoid questions about issues like compensation, which are best left for an in-person interview.
2. Location, location, location. Choosing the right space to take the call is crucial! Nothing will be more distracting – for you and the interviewer – than something intrusive in the background like a child crying. The location should be somewhere:

  • quiet
  • where you feel comfortable
  • where you won’t be interrupted
  • with a strong cell signal (or use a landline)
  • with internet access

3. Keep your answers short. It is much harder to tell if you are losing your audience without the benefit of being able to observe their body language. By keeping your answers concise, you help keep them focused.

4. Speak slowly and enunciate clearly. Without the benefit of non-verbal communication like eye contact and body language, your voice is your only communication tool. It is easy to start speaking too quickly, especially when you are nervous or highly enthusiastic. Speaking at a comfortable listening pace is thus crucial. Practice this in advance if you think it will be helpful. You should also pay attention to the interviewer’s pace and inflections, and take cues from their style, in essence mirroring their speaking style much like you would their posture at an in-person interview.

5. Take notes. Have a pen and paper ready, and jot down key things, such as questions that you think of, and the names of everyone on the call (especially if there are multiple interviewers). Keep your notes brief, though; don’t let your note-taking distract you from the call.

6. Send a written thank-you note. Even though it was a phone interview, a written note thanking the interviewer and re-emphasizing your interest in the position shows that you are serious about the position, not to mention that you have class.
7. Re-schedule if necessary. Not all phone interviews are booked in advance. Sometimes, an interviewer may call you unannounced, and simply start asking you questions. If they catch you at a bad time, such as when you are driving, don’t be afraid to ask to re-schedule. Many candidates are hesitant to do this, which is totally understandable as they don’t want to blow their chance. However, the way I see it is, if you are distracted and unprepared, the interview is not going to go well anyway. Note that this only applies if the interview call comes as a surprise, not if the time was agreed in advance!

Please be advised that the information in this article is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice on any subject matter. As with all legal issues, we recommend you consult your lawyer. Accordingly, ZSA Legal Recruitment Limited will bear no liability to the reader, in any form. There are no representations or warranties made as to the accuracy or substantive adequacy of any information provided in this article.


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