In an interview, your goal is to convince an employer you’re a good investment. If it’s a phone interview, you’re generally trying to score a chance to meet in person, but it’s still important to take the phone interview just as seriously as you would an in-person meeting.
Some sources say non-verbal communication (posture, eye contact, etc) makes up upwards of 80 percent of what you’re communicating. How then can you prove your full potential to an employer who’s only picking up on a small percentage of what you’re communicating?
We asked our top recruiters, who have completed hundreds of phone interviews and phone screens over the years to give us their tips. Here’s what they said:
- Smile. While your interviewer can’t actually see you, your smile will come through in the tone of your voice. You’ll need to overemphasize emotion so that some of it comes through on the other end of the phone.
- Avoid Filler Words. This is good advice for in-person interviews, but even more important on the phone. With a phone interview, there’s nothing for your interviewer to focus on but the sound of your voice. Practice speaking confidently and try your best to break the habit of starting every sentence with “um.”
- Stay Focused. You’d never text or browse the web during an in-person interview, so make sure you maintain the same standard with a phone interview. Be sure to stay focused and listen close to what your interviewer says so you’re ready to respond confidently. Consider standing up, or at least sitting at a table or desk, while you complete your phone interview.
- No Pets, No kids. A barking dog or screaming child will be distracting for you and your interviewer. Find a way to do your interview in a quiet location, preferably alone.
- Have A Copy Of Your Resume. If the interviewer references your resume, you’ll want to have a copy to refer to as well. Also, you might consider printing out the job description so that you can reference that in your responses as well.
- Use A Landline. If this isn’t possible, at least find a location where you have great reception. The last thing you’ll want is to have the phone cut out during the interview.
- Always Be Ready. If you’re applying for jobs, expect a phone interview to come. Answer your phone clearly with your first name. If you don’t have time for an interview, ask to schedule a time for the interviewer to call back.