DerrJones Recruiting Solutions

Phone Interview Tips

Use these phone interview tips from DerrJones and be ready to go on more face to face interviews! Preparing for a phone interview is as important as preparing for an in person meeting. The only difference might be that your Interview Clothes can be more relaxed...or should they be?

First, it's important to understand why employers like to use the phone as a screening device. Establishing a connection via the phone is not always easy to do, but it's a quick way for employers to screen your background to see if there's a potential fit.

Phone Interview Tips

Three things are important on this call: a) is your background, at least on the surface, a good match with the company's requirements; b) are your communication skills consistent with the company's standards; and c) is your style consistent with what they're looking for.

A phone screen allows the interviewer to review the "facts" of your background - where you've worked, the positions you've held, a brief review of your responsibilities. If these are in line with what they need, the interviewer will then consider what they're hearing.

Are you a solid communicator? Are your thoughts coherent? How's your attitude? Are they hearing a smile come through the phone from an energetic, engaged person? Or, are you low energy, poor grammar, unfocused, etc.?

An experienced interviewer can tell a lot in a short phone call. As a recruiter, it takes me only 30-60 seconds to decide if you'll be a good fit for a position I'm recruiting for. You don't get much time to make a good first impression!

Follow these phone interview tips and stand out from the crowd:

Before the Phone Call

Make sure you have a quiet place to talk. A land line is preferable to a cell phone. Cell phone connections can be difficult at times. Make sure that your children and your pets are not going to disturb you. You're trying to make a good impression here!

Just as an aside, it's annoying to hear your dog violently barking at the UPS delivery guy that's coming up your driveway. Likewise, if your kids are screaming in the background, this does not suggest that you've made this interview a priority.

Have your resume ready. The interviewer will likely want to review the information on the resume. Know what it says.

Research the company. Know what the job description says. It's important for you to ask at least a few questions during this call, so you'll need some background information.

During the Call

It's important to answer the phone with a smile. I know that sounds hokey, but, you can actually hear that come through.

Be animated and positive. Listen to the questions asked and answer accordingly.

Since you can't see body language through the phone, listen for clues from the interviewer. You might start the call by asking how much time you have. That will be a good guide for how in depth your answers might be. There's a huge difference between a 20 minute screening call and a 90 minute phone interview! Time management is an important phone interview tip to take note of.

Ask questions about the job. Reporting relationships, key deliverables, etc. If you need help compiling these, see Interview Questions to Ask for help.

Ask about next steps and time frames. Try to close the deal with a commitment to coming in for a face to face meeting. Do this in a low key way.

After the Call

A quick follow up email to the person you interviewed with is totally appropriate. This will likely help you stand out from the crowd.

Use these phone interview tips and
get a jump on your competition!

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