While you’re actively job searching, it’s important to be prepared for a phone interview on a moment’s notice. You never know when a recruiter or a networking contact might call and ask if you have a few minutes to talk.
Nail Your Phone Interview
Employers use telephone interviews as a way of identifying and recruiting candidates for employment. Phone interviews 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 as a way to minimize the expenses involved in interviewing out-of-town candidates.
Prepare for a phone interview just as you would for a regular interview. Compile a list of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as a list of answers to typical interview questions. In addition, plan on being prepared for a phone conversation about your background and skills.
- Keep your resume in clear view so it’s at your fingertips when you need to answer questions.
- Have a short list of your accomplishments available to review.
- Have a pen and paper handy for note-taking.
- Turn call-waiting off so your call isn’t interrupted.
- If the time isn’t convenient, ask if you could talk at another time and suggest some alternatives.
- Clear the room – evict the kids and the pets. Turn off the stereo and the TV. Close the door.
- Unless you’re sure your cell phone service is going to be perfect, consider using a landline rather than your cell phone to avoid a dropped call or static on the line.
Talking on the phone isn’t as easy as it seems, so it is helpful to practice.
- Have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview and tape record it so you can see how you sound over the phone. Any cassette recorder will work.
- Listen to your recording for “ums” and “uhs” and “okays.” Practice reducing them from your conversational speech.
- Rehearse answers to typical questions you’ll be asked.
- Don’t chew gum or eat.
- Keep a glass of water handy, in case you need to wet your mouth.
- Smile. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice.
- Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
- Use the person’s title (Mr. or Ms. and their last name.) Only use a first name if they ask you to.
- Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
- Take your time – it’s perfectly acceptable to take a moment to collect your thoughts.
- Give short answers.
- Remember your goal is to set-up a face-to-face interview. After you thank the interviewer ask if it would be possible to meet in person.
- Take notes about what you were asked and how you answered.
- Remember to say “thank you.” Follow with a thank you note which reiterates your interest in the job.
ESP understood the type of openings that I was looking for, which resulted in only putting quality leads in front of me.
Sr. Business Analyst
I felt like I received red-carpet service. I will be forwarding resumes to ESP from now on!
Data Governance Director
ESP was great to work with. My recruiter always answers and follows through on items I request or that are promised to me.
My ESP recruiter was articulate, professional, balanced and discrete. He was sensitive to the human needs of relocation and candid about what to expect. Perfection! Rather than being treated like a commodity, ESP’s work with me was focused on the right fit for both the company and me. Fantastic experience!
Technical Project Manager
ESP did a great job preparing me for my interview with the leadership team and provided them a great snapshot into who I am and what my value is to the organization.
MSP Service Delivery Manager
My ESP recruiter did a great job looking for possible opportunities. He was quick to make sure I had everything in place as needed for each. The approach has an energy that instills confidence in your recruiter and ESP. My recruiter does a fantastic job making sure you are aware of opportunities, and you are not just another client on the books. It was evident ESP would do their best for me after meeting with him and comparing to other competitor recruiters. Thank you!
Technical Project Manager
My ESP recruiter helped me get my resume in order, which made a big impact on responses. He also was in contact with me throughout the search, which showed a great level of his commitment to his clients. I was completely satisfied. I appreciated the constant communication. I will definitely be handing his business cards out—I think that ESP is a great company with a great future as you continue to put clients first.”
My recruiter was very accommodating, flexible, supportive, and easy to work with. I respected the fact that ESP represented me only after taking time to determine my skills.a
Contract-Operations Preparedness Manager