Job Interview Tips Professional Development

9 Phone Interview Tips That Will Land You A Second Interview

Written by Peter Jones

So you have followed all the best resume tips and land yourself a job interview. You’re prepared to interview. You’re just not prepared to do it on the phone. Make sure to go over these 6 hardest interview questions.

Here are 9 ways to adapt your interviewing strategy to the phone format, without losing your cool.

1. Be ready

Sometimes you’ll be notified to schedule. Sometimes the call will come straight out of the blue. If you’re not somewhere where it would be convenient or possible for you to chat, ask the interviewer if it would be possible to find a mutually suitable time. If not, don’t panic: you can do it. Just muddle through. Once you’ve applied for a job—any job, make sure you start mentally preparing for the interview in case you find yourself thrown into one just by picking up the phone!

2. Be organized

Have a copy of the job description and whatever information you’ve gathered about the company at your fingertips before the call begins. While you’re at it, make sure to also have a copy of your resume and your application materials as well. Otherwise, the interviewer will be able to hear that frantic stalling and rustling around.

3. Be prepared

The phone interview is just like any other interview. You should be well versed in your answers to common interview questions, or questions you think will be likely to come up for that particular position. The only difference is you’ll have to be charming without your knockout smile and friendly face. Try compensating with more vivid answers. And cut the rambling and verbal fillers like “um,” which will stand out more over the phone.

4. Smile

Seriously. Not only can people hear the difference when someone is smiling over the phone, smiling will have a massive effect on your demeanor. You’ll sound much more upbeat and confident. Keep a mirror by the phone if you need reminding!

5. Use the Internet

If it would be too complicated to explain something, or you want to be able to provide a visual, try directing your interviewer to your website, portfolio, or LinkedIn page. That way, you can talk them through it during your actual interview, narrating each accomplishment for them.

6. Be smooth

Just like in any other conversation, try and match the tone and speed and volume of your interviewer. Ask a friend to assess your telephone voice for you in advance and give you feedback.

7. Be easygoing

Initial interviews, particularly over the phone, are not the time to start making demands or asking very particular questions about PTO or benefits packages or job duties. Make them want to talk to you again; hopefully that will score you a proper face-to-face interview where you can proceed with your usual interview protocol.

8. Be firm

Don’t let your interviewer off the phone without scheduling another interview. Or the name and contact information of someone you can be in touch with at the company to follow up.

9. Say thank you

Even though it’s a phone interview, the normal rules apply. That means a written thank you. Emailed or handwritten. Don’t be too pushy, but it’s always okay to subtly remind them of your strengths in your thank you note.

About the author

Peter Jones