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Phone Interview

When looking for a job, there are several different interview styles you may encounter.

The phone interview is one of them. Stuck between the worlds of modern (i.e., online interview) and traditional (in-person interview), companies use the phone interview to both weed out candidates before they ask for a more formal discussion and when making a final hiring decision. It’s good news if you get this kind of request because it means you’ve made it through the initial screening process. Like with any interview, you’ll want to prepare some specific strategies for this type of approach. Here is all about a phone interview and how to get ready for one.

When you’re asked to do a phone interview, they are typically set up by a company’s human resources department. Or, at a smaller company, it could be arranged by your future potential boss. They’ll agree on a set time to call you so that you’re available and not distracted. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure you are in a quiet space to talk to the interviewer. The best option is a room in your home where you can shut the door to other noises. However, they may request to talk to you while you’re working or otherwise outside your home. In those cases, your vehicle might serve as the quietest place to have a conversation.

Otherwise, to prepare for a phone interview, you’ll want to first research the company calling you. Not knowing some of the ins and outs of the companies where they apply is one common mistake made by applicants. So, at the very least, do a quick dive into the company’s mission statement and impact on their industry and local community. Ask yourself, what jumps out at you and aligns with your personal goals? Also, see what they are posting on their social media to get to know what they’re about. Also when you’re about to start, take some deep breaths to dispel your nerves and again, make sure your surrounding area is without distraction or noise.

During the interview, it’s more important than ever to listen carefully to what your interviewer is saying. You won’t have the advantage of seeing their face for inflections, so their words have even more weight. On that note, it’s important to pay close attention to the tone of your voice as well. Your interviewer will not be able to read your body language, so they’ll be making judgments about you based on what they hear. So, watch your grammar, talk in complete sentences, and speak clearly without mumbling. And, don’t rush what you want to say.

In addition, you’ll want to have a pad of paper in front of you to take good notes. Your interviewer won’t be able to see what you’re doing, so note whatever you need to so you can remember what they say. Make sure you highlight your key qualifications effectively by drawing what you’ve done back to what they are looking for. Have some examples ready to go. When the interview is over, send some follow up communication thanking them for their time and reminding them how much you want to work for their company (assuming you still do). Send any other information they asked for during the phone interview like references or examples of your work.

Again, a phone interview is mostly used to screen applicants, but there could be a rare time you’ll be hired from this type of interview alone. Much of the preparation is similar to a typical interview, but for a phone interview, you’ll want to pay close attention to how you sound since this is all the interviewer will have to go on. And, working on communicating with just your words is key since they can’t read your body language. Regardless, this kind of interview is a good indicator that you’ve gotten the company’s attention.


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