Tips for a Successful Phone Interview

Telephone interviews are merely screening interviews meant to eliminate poorly qualified candidates so that only a few are left for personal interviews. Your mission is to be invited in for a face-to-face interview. Some tips for telephone interviews include:

  • Make sure your ringback tones and outgoing voicemail message on your home and/or cell phones is professional. If the client misses you and gets your voicemail, their first impression of you will be the professionalism of your message.
  • Use a landline if possible – a bad connection and/or dropped call is not the first impression you want to make. If you can’t, make sure you are in a quiet area with good reception.
  • Without being able to see body language, you may miss out on signals telling you you’ve said enough. Try to leave some spaces during your answers, so the interviewer can interject a comment or new question.
  • Keep your notes handy: Have any key information, including your resume, notes about the company, and any notes you have prepared, next to the phone. You will sound prepared if you don’t have to search for information. Make sure you also have a notepad and pen so you can jot down notes and any questions you would like to ask at the end of the interview.
  • Be prepared to think on your feet: If you are asked to participate in a role-playing situation, give short but concise answers. Accept any criticism with tact and grace.
  • Avoid salary issues: If you are asked how much money you would expect, try to avoid the issue by using a delaying statement or give a broad range, especially if you do not know how much the job is budgeted for.
  • Push for a face-to-face meeting: Sell yourself by closing with something like: “I am very interested in exploring the possibility of working in your company. I would appreciate an opportunity to meet with you in person. Would you like to set up a meeting at this time?
  • Try to reschedule surprise interviews: You will not be your best with a surprise interview. If you were called unexpectedly, try to set an appointment to call back by saying something like: “I have a scheduling conflict at this time. Can I call you back tomorrow after work, say 6 PM?”