3 Steps to Nail the “Over The Phone” Job Interview

Hiring Managers often prefer phone interviews over Skype or informal interviews to screen potential new hires.  This helps employers to breeze and sort through candidates without committing to the expense and valuable time required for a 1st on-location job interview.

An interview is rarely a stress free event. For anyone who is hungry for a great job it can be nerve wracking; an experience similar to an interrogation as interviewers put you on the spot and force you to think on your feet. I have 3 simple steps to help you nail the over-the-phone job interview.

If you land a phone interview, you can easily turn the odds in your favour with a little prep. I call my concept: Impress-Proof-Deliver.

#1 Impress

  • 1st impressions count and they have a big impact on everything that follows. You clearly impressed with your resume and application, otherwise you would not be invited for the phone interview. So don’t spoil this with poor verbal communication skills.
  • Smile and be enthusiastic– An interviewer is tuned into your tone while on the phone. Sound enthusiastic and smile while you talk. I am not kidding. Sit down in a closed room. Use a mirror and look at yourself and remember to smile. It reflects in your speech and creates a very positive impression. It also naturally creates a more pleasant tone.
  • Use a solid connection– Avoid mobile phones and use a land line if possible to avoid interruptions and poor reception issues. If you can turn off call waiting, do it, and if on a mobile turn your phone on silent so they don’t hear your various beeps and alerts. Interruptions and dropped calls can derail your train of thought and up your stress level.

#2 Proof

The proof is easily discovered with a few key interview questions, and experienced hiring professionals tend to start with them. Prove that you have done your homework, that you are genuinely interested in the position and that you are prepared.

  • Draft a list of top 3 questions – Create a list of the 3 most important questions and keep it with you. This way you won’t forget the critical questions, and it proves and makes you sound more interested in the company as opposed to just the job itself.
  • Have your resume handy – Keep a copy of your current resume on hand in case the interviewer references it, or you want to refer to it during the interview. Interviews are stressful and it helps to have a reference to stay on track.

#3 Deliver

The phone interview will certainly be focused on a key criteria check-up, but more often also about cultural fit and transferrable skills. Hiring Managers hate to waste time and experienced recruiters can read between the lines when they conduct phone interviews.

  • Have an elevator pitch ready– Practice your 30 second summary of why you’re a good fit for the job. This can help sell the interviewer on why you’re perfect for the role. Recruiters need to have proof that they have screened and interviewed you before they go to the next step to invite you for interviews with their clients or internal hiring managers. You can help them if you have something they can deliver.
  • Match styles – Try to keep pace with the verbiage used by the interviewer. If they’re using industry-relevant jargon or tech talk then you should do so as well. Sound the part without becoming Mr. Know-it-all. Just be confident. No one expects you to have the answer to everything. Keep it short and stick to the question.
  • Avoid Interrupting – It’s easier to trip up and talk over someone on the phone. This often happens to ‘Fact Listeners’. Avoid Fact Listening. You may want to bring up a big point or ask a question, but avoid stepping on the interviewer or interrupting them. Count to 3 to provide a short pause after they stop talking to ensure you’ve given them the opportunity to finish before you chime in.
  • Get somewhere quiet – If you live with others, then go to a quiet room to minimise background noise. Keep it quiet. Turn the TV off, shut off music, turn off the speakers on your PC and silence your mobile phone.
  • Don’t conduct the interview at your work place – Even if you agree to a phone interview during work hours, leave the office and find a quiet place. Show respect and professionalism to your current employer and let the interviewer know that you have left the office. This will demonstrate integrity and style.
  • Follow upAfter the phone interview, always follow up with a brief thank you note.  An email, LinkedIn message or brief text message will do the trick. In your note be sure to recap your skills and how you can help them meet their goals.

Learn more

Are looking to find the right job fast? TheJobSearchCoach works with job hunters and career changers in white collar professions in Australia & New Zealand to help them connect with great job opportunities.

Phone interviews can be a great way to Impress, Proof and Deliver your way into a new job. Come prepared and always remember to hunt wisely!