Phone interviews have recently started taking the place of in-person interviews. Now that the economy is attempting a recovery, many companies are looking to hire and are trying to do so in a safe, but efficient, manner. Thus the rise of the phone interview.
Even prior to the pandemic, many businesses relied on phone interviews as a first wave of interviews to make first contact and find out if the candidate is worth the time, effort, and expense of bringing in for a longer and more in depth interview.
Phone interviews are a bit different in that you will not be seen by the person interviewing you, which means that your attire, mannerisms, and body language will not be a factor as an in-person interview would be. However, there are still steps you can take to be well prepared and put your best foot forward during a phone interview.
Just like with an in-person interview, you should prepare in a similar way. Research the company that you will be interviewing with. Find out everything you can about the specific job, learn about the company culture, and try to determine who you will be talking to. If you do have a name of the person with whom you will be interviewing with, do a little research on LinkedIn to determine if you have friends or colleagues in common. Making that connection can make you memorable and may allow your name to stand out for the other candidates for the same position.
During your preparations you should review your unique qualifications for the position. Review your skill set, go over your résumé and cover letter. Have short “elevator pitches” ready to go for each job you have held in the past. In other words have a genuine, yet prepared, talk about yourself and where you have been in your career. Be able to explain how your qualifications line up with the job that you’re applying for.
Part of your preparation for a phone interview should include anticipating what questions may be asked so that you can be well versed (but not memorized) in your answers.
Opening questions will most likely include general questions about your background, why are you looking for a new job, where are you in your job search, and when you could start working?
From there, you should expect that there will be initial questions about your résumé. Expect questions that may include:
- Tell us about your last few work experiences.
- What skills have you recently gained or strengthened?
- How are your skills a match for this job?
- Why did you leave your last employer?
- What questions do you have about the position?
Anticipate that the person interviewing you will want to know why you are applying for that particular position, and this particular company. “What attracted you to our organization?” is a common phone interview so be ready to explain in a way that shows you know about them as a business.
Avoid Phone Interview Issues
If you are scheduled for a phone interview, be sure to position yourself in a place where you will be able to have a quiet space with no interruptions. Your entire attention should be on the call.
Be sure to speak clearly and loudly enough so that the hiring managers on the other end of the call can hear your answers. Nothing is worse than a phone interview where voices are garbled or mumbling stops others from hearing your response.
Show enthusiasm with your word choice and inflection. Avoid sounding bored, nervous, or too relaxed on the call. If you are unsure of what is being asked, simply request that the question be repeated which may give you time to steady your nerves and think about your response.
Just like during an in-person interview, avoid speaking negatively about your past employers, using slang, or cursing. Be sure to be upbeat and positive in the way you respond.
For more resources on interviewing, check out our resources pages at North Shore Career Center and MassHire North Shore.