In today’s job market, phone interviews often serve as the first true interaction between recruiters or hiring managers and potential employees. It’s a true interview, not simply a phone call to schedule an in-person meeting. Unfortunately, many jobseekers don’t understand the ultimate importance of the phone interview.
When you schedule your phone interview with the recruiter, make sure you will have the time and quietness this phone call deserves. In most cases, the recruiter will give you an estimate of the call duration, allowing you to better schedule the interview. Ensure you will have more than enough time for the call; give yourself an additional 20-30 minutes than the estimate just to be sure.
Treating this like an in-person interview may mean getting dressed and ready; for some people, dressing for success helps put them in a more professional state of mind. Prepare a notebook, pen or pencil, or a word processing application, and your resume so you can quickly jot down any information during the phone call. Having your resume handy will allow you to scan over what the recruiter has in front of them about you, as well.
It’s not always easy to find a quiet place. However, when participating in a phone interview, it may help to be in a secluded room with the door closed. For many job seekers, phone interviews may have to happen during a work day at a current job. Schedule the interview for your lunch break and find a quiet place to speak without interruption.
Tips and Tricks
Refrain from having food or drink (besides a handy glass of water in case you’re prone to dry throat when nervous), don’t chew gum and refrain from smoking. Again, treat the phone interviewer as if they were the hiring manager sitting right in front of you. As in an in-person interview, address the interviewer by name and smile while you talk. If the interviewer doesn’t offer the next steps, make sure to ask when your interview is over.