Phone Interview Hacks To Get You To The Next Round

Phone interviews can feel like a mere speed bump in the job search process. But while they may seem more informal then an in-person interview, phone screenings are actually one of the most important steps in the hiring process. Sure, you may have exchanged a few emails, but this is the first time you’ll be able to speak directly to a hiring manager and demonstrate why you’re perfect for the job.

Here are some tricks to help you prepare for and execute the perfect phone interview. Follow these tips and you’ll make a great first impression that’s sure to help you get to the next round of interviews.

Be prepared with goals & objectives

Before you sit down for your phone interview, write down a few bullet points about what you’d like to accomplish on the call. What information about yourself, your skills and your experience do you want to share with the hiring manager? What specifics do you want to learn about the company or the position they are looking to fill? Thinking these points out beforehand and writing them down will help you be more intentional and hit all the right details in your interview. Plus, having them in front of you will help if you happen to freeze up during the call (nerves happen to the best of us!).

Prepare your space

Find a quiet, private space to take your call. Although you probably don’t want to take the call at your current employer’s office, many public spaces like coffee shops are a lot louder than you may anticipate. Plan ahead and find a space that’s quiet enough to hear clearly, and don’t forget to make sure you have good phone service before the call begins. Using headphones can also help cancel out background noise and make your voice come through stronger during the interview.

Prepare your body

Decide if you’re more comfortable sitting or standing. Oftentimes people sound more interested, energized and animated if they present while standing. Others are far more comfortable sitting. Try practicing calls to friends both ways and see which works for you. Keep water nearby in case your nerves get the best of you and you need a quick sip.

Be on time

Much like in-person interviews, being punctual is key to showing your professionalism and starting off on the right foot. Hiring managers are busy, and waiting around for you to call them isn’t high on their to-do list. Another obvious point, but worth mentioning: never put your interviewer on hold. It’s not only disrespectful, but it shows that you aren’t prioritizing the opportunity.

Pay attention—no multi-tasking

Once the call is underway, give your full attention to the interviewer as if you were in the same room, sitting across a table. In today’s fast-paced digital world, it’s easy to get distracted with incoming emails, text messages or calls, but resist the urge to check them until after the call. If you’re taking the call at home, don’t use this time to do chores. Dirty dishes can wait (and interviewers can hear what you’re doing)!

Skip the salary talk

No matter how good you think the call is going, one topic to avoid bringing up on a phone interview is money. If you bring up salary expectations this early, you put yourself at a disadvantage because you will look like you care more about money than the company and the job that you’re applying for. One caveat to this rule: although you shouldn’t bring up salary, if the hiring manager asks about your salary expectations, be prepared to answer. Indeed has some great tips on how to prepare for this conversation, whether it be during the phone interview or later in the job application process.

Ask questions

One of the biggest things hiring managers are looking for is enthusiasm and interest in their company. That means when it comes time for the Q&A portion of your call, you should be prepared to ask questions that are relevant to the company and position you’re applying for. Not sure what to ask? The Muse can some helpful suggestions.

So next time you’ve got a phone interview lined up, take a few moments to properly prepare, find a quiet space where you can focus and make sure you’ve got some questions lined up for the Q&A. Phone interviews might not be your favorite, but with a little practice, you can learn to conquer them with ease!

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