Be Ready for the Call: How to Prepare For A Phone Interview

Posted on November 2014 By Speller International
Be Ready For The Call

​Often, interviewers will want to have a chat to you over the phone before scheduling an ‘in person’ interview. The phone interview may seem daunting but, as with all interviews, it is a great opportunity for you to learn more about your prospective employers as much as it is for them to learn about you.

What’s the difference?

So, how does a phone interview differ from a face-to-face interview? Well, first of all, it is on the phone. As much as that sounds like stating the obvious, being over the phone rather than in person can give you a few advantages (and a few disadvantages), based predominantly around whether or not the interview is scheduled.

It is always preferable to schedule in a phone interview. This allows you to ensure you have your notes (one of the advantages over an in-person chat) and ensures you will be in a comfortable, quiet and private location so you can devote your full attention to the interview.

If a recruiter calls at an inopportune time, simply be polite and request a different time that will work for you both. Don’t forget to confirm the number to call them back on!

Make sure your phone is recruiter-ready

Now before we go any further, let’s pause for a second and make it abundantly clear that, if you are searching for a job, you should have a professional voicemail greeting. Whether you are expecting calls or not, if you are putting your contact details out there to recruiters and HR professionals, that joke message is not going to cut it. Just a greeting, your name and a request for a short message with the promise of a callback is all you need – no muss, no fuss.

Let’s talk about prep

Okay! Now that is out of the way, let’s talk about how to prepare for a phone interview. Here are a few tips. It’s easy, really. Just prepare as you would for an in-person interview.

  • Thoroughly research the company and the interviewer

  • Prepare questions to ask

  • Ensure you know your resume back to front. Why did you leave your last role? What were the challenges you faced? How long did you work at company xyz?

Make a great impression

It is important to be yourself and let your best attributes shine through. Here are some tips on how to make sure your best side is showing (over the phone).

  • Speak clearly! Ensuring you can be heard will also ensure you come across well.

  • Be sure you have heard the question right before answering. If you’re unsure, just ask the interviewer to repeat it – never guess as you might get it wrong.

  • Clarify and repeat the question before answering if required. In a face-to-face interview, physical cues from the interviewer such as nodding and facial expressions help to confirm whether you have answered what they were looking for – these cues are missing during a phone interview so it’s helpful to ask for confirmation such as “Have I answered your question?” or “Would you like me to elaborate further?”

  • Smile! Even though the interviewer cannot see you, a smile can be heard in your voice and impresses your enthusiasm and good attitude on them. Trust us.

But wait, there’s more

So what else? Well, here are a few optional extras that can help you on your way to acing that phone interview and making it to the face-to-face round:

  • Have your phone fully charged

  • Have a copy of your resume handy and a short list of your accomplishments to refer to

  • Have a paper and pen ready

  • Take notes so you are able to respond to or ask about items the interviewer has mentioned

Finally, if you really want the job, end the call on a positive note. Always thank the interviewer for their time and for the opportunity, and follow up with a confirmation your interest in the company, ability to do the job and desire to take things to the next step. Your phone will be ringing off the hook in no time (so keep it charged!).