Phone interviews are one of the first steps of the interview process. After your interviewer has narrowed down on your resume, you will most probably receive a telephonic call where a short phone interview is held. While many people often stay unprepared for this kind of interview, it is essential to know that it holds a lot of value. Whether or not you ace your phone interview will determine you are going on to the next round.
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What is the Importance of a Phone Interview?
- Companies will hold a phone interview as part of the interview process because it helps them assume the interviewee on the other side of the line. You might think that you don’t need to pay attention to your ‘phone interview skills’, but this is very wrong. Unless you give them a really good impression or a reason to bring you on to the face to face interview round, you might get yourself crossed off the interview list.
- The second reason why phone interviews are essential is because many big companies don’t want to take up the unnecessary cost of holding face to face interviews with a huge number of candidates. A phone interview gives them a chance to narrow down on the people they want to call in for the next round.
- In case an interviewee is not in town or unable to attend the face to face interview, the company would like to have the information beforehand, so they know what to expect, or they can reschedule if they are interested in you.
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Here are ten tips that will help you get through your next phone interview with ease:
1. Treat it Like a Real Interview
A phone interview is most definitely a real interview, but many do not treat it so. When preparing for your phone interview, make sure that you are prepared for the call. Drink some water or coffee to warm up your vocal cords, wear fresh clothes in the morning, and don’t sound sleepy and lazy. These little cues are strong enough for your interviewer to pick up through the phone and make an assumption about your personality.
2. Remove All Distractions
If you are outside your home, eating food, in the bathroom, or even just watching TV, do not give your phone interview. If possible, ask the interviewer if you can reschedule the interview once you get home. If you are already home, turn off your TV, computer, absolutely any distractions around you. Sit up straight at a table and give your interview as you would if they were here in person.
3. Keep Some Notes Handy
One good thing about phone interviews is that you can have a little cheat sheet with you. Prepare some notes and keep them at hand during your interview. These can contain important information like certain points about the company, certain numbers you need to remember, any questions you might have, etc. Make use of the privacy of the phone interview and take the help of your notes.
4. Mind Your Tone
While you have to sound professional and formal, you don’t need to sound terrified at the other end of the line. Keep your voice and tone friendly, so that the interviewer knows you are at ease and comfortable with the process. The company also wants to hire a friendly person who can fit into the rest of the team, so mind your tone during the interview.
5. Speaking Skills
You should brush up on your speaking skills for a phone interview because all the interviewer has access to is your voice. So you need to make a good impression. Practice phone interviews alone or with willing friends or family. Speak clearly and loudly, but don’t shout! Keep some water handy in case you are nervous or your throat feels dry.
6. Research the Company
Whether you expect it or not, you might face certain ‘face to face interview’ questions over the phone as well. Why you chose this company, what future do you see for yourself here, etc.? Make sure you research the company and go through the company website before your phone interview. Tailor your answers according to the company (if you are sitting for multiple phone interviews with other companies).
7. Job Description, Your Resume, Your Cover Letter
Have these three items in front of your eyes at all times during the phone interview. Either have the pages open on your computer, or have a print-out version of them. You might need to refer to these documents during the phone interview, and you should be prepared. Fumbling does not give out a good impression.
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8. Let Them Interrupt You
All your social skills will tell you this is the wrong thing to do, but during a phone interview, let it happen. If your interviewer interrupts you while you are talking, let them. It probably means that you were going on for too long, or they were not interested in your answer. Of course, whatever you do, don’t interrupt the interviewer back!
9. Keep Some Questions Ready
Keep some basic questions ready during your phone interview process. You don’t have to ask ALL your questions during the phone interview, but one or two questions can show your interest and curiosity in the company. Asking them when they will begin the next steps of the interview or when they are looking to hire are some good questions to ask.
10. Follow up with an Email
Finally, remember to follow up with a thank you email after your phone interview. It does not have to be immediate, but remember to send it within 12 hours, at least, to make a good impression. While this is not compulsory, it puts you in front of the others for the interview process.
Keep these ten tips in mind, and you will be able to easily ace your phone interview and go on to the next round. The most important thing yo remember is that a phone interview is very much a ‘real’ interview, so treat it that way, and you will do great.