65% of employees are looking for a new job right now, according to PwC’s August poll of full- and part-time U.S. workers. With more candidates job searching, many may be wondering how to stand out during their next phone interview and looking for actionable phone interview tips.
To help job seekers better prepare for this important part of the interview process, Job-Hunt, the award-winning career website recently acquired by FlexJobs, created a 12-step guide to the best things to do before, during, and after a phone interview.
Each section is broken out below and includes the key steps candidates can take to help make a great first impression by phone with these phone interview tips! You can view the full details of each step here.
Phone Interview Tips—Before the Interview:
- Set a professional voicemail. When you can’t answer the phone number you provided on your application or resume when someone calls, be sure that a voicemail message is available, confirming that the number belongs to you, and clearly stating your name in a professional way.
- Schedule the interview carefully. When you schedule the call, choose a time when you can be in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted by a co-worker or family member, barking dog, or other loud noises.
- Research in advance. Know as much as you can about the employer and the opportunity before the interview, just as you would for an in-person interview.
- Know answers to common questions. Brief “yes” and “no” responses will not move a telephone interview forward, but will end it quickly. So, start by practicing your answers to the top interview questions now so that you are ready when the unplanned telephone interview occurs.
- Keep resources on the ready. So have a copy of both the job description and a copy of the resume or application you submitted in front of you before the interview starts.
Phone Interview Tips—During the Interview:
- Listen carefully. Avoid making assumptions about what is being said. Ask for clarification if necessary so that your response will be most appropriate.
- Smile! You will find that you sound more upbeat and engaged when you do this. Your smiles will be “heard” by the interviewer making for a positive impression. This is where your attitude will really show.
- Focus on language and voice. Try to take cues from the interviewer (does he or she speak slowly and softly or fast and loud?), and modulate your own tone and word choice to make a positive impression.
- Take notes. If possible, take notes during and immediately after the call. Focus on giving good answers rather than writing copious notes, and you can write most of the notes after the call.
- Share past work examples. If the answer is yes, suggest they visit your web portfolio or LinkedIn Profile (links hopefully on your resume), and have them click on your project highlights page. There, the interviewer will see what you have made public, perhaps an outline of key projects and a terrific graph that expresses your results.
Phone Interview Tips—After the Interview:
- End the call effectively. If the interviewer is bringing the call to an end without discussing the next steps, speak up! Express your enthusiasm for moving forward, saying something like this: “Thank you for your time today. I’ve enjoyed speaking with you, learning more about this opportunity, and I would be very happy to discuss more about it in person.”
- Send a thank-you note. Sure, it was a telephone interview, but that is no reason for not taking the time to exercise simple but powerful courtesies. Write a thank you letter, and email it as soon as you can after the interview. Don’t just say thank you! Make a point of reiterating your strengths and value for the position.
FlexJobs career coaches recommend this and other helpful tips to keep in mind during a phone interview, such as:
- Start strong
- Maintain a conversational tone
- Eliminate distractions
- End on a high note