By Jim Wong, CPA | October 28, 2015

Searching for a new job can be exhausting, especially when it comes time for the interview process. I hear it often from accounting, finance and IT professionals looking for a new position that once they get called for an interview, while they’re excited at the possibility of a career change – that’s when they really start to stress.

More often than not, the first step in interviewing is typically done by phone. However, many of the resources out there for job seekers focus on the in-person interview. While that is important, too, the phone interview is where you’re really going to make your first impression.

Therefore, you need to prepare for it just as intensely as you would if you were walking through the company’s door for a face-to-face meeting with the hiring managers.

One of the few articles I did come across on the subject was by a few months ago. They shared some great pointers on how to successfully approach a phone interview. Here at Brilliant, we have tips we regularly share with our candidates in preparation for their phone interviews, as well. I’ve listed out several of my favorites in the 7 Tips for Perfecting Your Phone Interview below:

1. Take the call in a quiet place.
Be sure that you plan out where you will take the call in advance. You should find a place in a calm and quiet location. You don’t want to be somewhere where there is a lot of background noise that could cause you to get distracted or not be able to hear the interviewer’s questions. Additionally, you want to be sure that you are in a place with plenty of cell phone reception.

2. Sound upbeat and smile.
Even though you cannot see the person on the other end of the phone, he or she can pick up on your tone and inflection. If you are smiling and energetic, the interviewer will be able to tell. Envision yourself being in-person with the hiring manager and act and speak how you would in front of them. This will also help your confidence and character to come across.

3. Do your homework.
Make sure you research the company you are interviewing for well ahead of time. This will show that you are already dedicated to learning more about the company as well as showing initiative and drive. Visit their website and social media pages to get a pulse on any recent accolades, news or events they have recently experienced. Then, reference what you learned about them during the phone interview. Also, have your resume in front of you and review it before the call. You want to be sure that you can speak to any aspect of your resume, especially if it’s from past positions that you haven’t thought about recently.

4. Have questions prepared. 
An easy way to fumble during an interview is by not having questions prepared to ask when prompted to by the interviewer.

5. Role play beforehand.
Enlist a friend or family member to simulate the interview with you. Have he or she ask you questions and then respond as if you were talking to the actual interviewer. Repeat this two or three times before the day of the phone interview. Also, ask for feedback and tailor your answers accordingly when it comes time for the real thing.

6. Refrain from drinking, eating or smoking during the call.
With the exception of a water bottle on hand, you do not want to be eating lunch or having a snack while you’re on the phone interview. You also don’t want any food or drink to clutter up your workspace. This can also cause distractions. Further, you do not want to smoke while you’re on the call either. Studies show that a person who smokes looks and sounds less credible than their non-smoking counterparts.

7. Say Thank You.
Just as if you were in person, you should end the call with a ‘thank you’ and reiterate your interest in the position. Remember, the interviewer has to be certain that you want the job as well. You can even follow the call up with a Thank You email.

Being prepared for the phone interview from the get-go will set you apart from many others vying for the same position. Be sure to do your due diligence and take advantage of these important tips.

What are some other tips for perfecting your phone interview? Comment below and let us know!

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