By Jim Wong, CPA | August 2, 2017

The summer is a great time to heat up your job search—and with any job search eventually comes the interview process. Nowadays, when a hiring manager or recruiter reaches out to you for an initial screening, they will do so in the form of a phone interview. Their goal is to vet out the appropriate candidates to invite for in-person interviews which helps reduce time, resources and cost.

For anyone actively looking for a new role, it’s important to know that a phone interview can be scheduled ahead of time or can happen on the spot.

So, it’s best to be well prepared for when that phone interview comes—either planned or unplanned.

You have to be sure that you take the phone interview just as seriously as you would walking into the company’s office to meet them face to face because what you say and how you conduct yourself on the phone will determine if you even get the chance to do so.

I came across a Forbes article that talks about tips for proper phone interview etiquette, and I have even written about it in the past. It’s an important topic to revisit. Take a look at the 4 Tips to Ace Your Next Phone Interview below.

1. Confirm the logistics of the call.
If you know about the phone interview ahead of time, be sure to get confirmation on the date and time, who you will be speaking with, and whether you will be calling the person or if they will be calling you. This may sound obvious but if the hiring manager or recruiter has to play phone tag with you, it may come across like you can’t follow directions or that you’re not interested in the role—both can hurt your chances of landing a meeting in the next round of interviews.

2. Practice your responses ahead of time.
Whether the call is scheduled or you receive the call out of the blue, it’s important to rehearse your responses to common interview questions such as your strengths and weaknesses and why you’re looking for a new role. You should also have a list of questions that you want to ask the interviewer ready either on a piece of paper or in your memory. Having your questions and responses already crafted will allow you to sound more polished and prepared for the phone interview.

3. Set up your interview space. 
If you’re taking the phone call from home, be sure you have your resume on your desk or taped on your wall so that you can easily refer to it. Also, have a pen and paper (or tablet) ready to take notes. Make sure the room is free of noise, clutter and any children or pets. Also, be sure that you have good reception for your phone. This will help eliminate any distractions, unnecessary sounds in the background or dropped calls.

4. Be professional. 
When answering the phone—especially if you do not know the number calling—be sure to identify yourself so that the caller knows they’ve dialed the correct phone number. Also, address the caller by Mr. or Ms. unless they’ve requested to be called by their first name. Lastly, don’t interrupt the interviewer. Be sure they’ve finished asking their full question before starting to respond. Taking a short breath before speaking will also help you collect your thoughts and be able to properly respond to the question.

Have some other tips for phone interviewing? Comment below and let us know!

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