Your phone rings and it's good news – an employer wants to schedule a phone interview with you! Wait, how different is that from an in-person interview? Why a phone interview instead of meeting face-to-face? Does this mean they aren't serious about hiring you? Okay, take a breath, calm down and let's talk about phone interviews.
Phone interviews are common when a company receives a large number of applicants. Sometimes employers screen potential candidates with a short phone call, while other hiring managers conduct a complete interview over the phone before inviting you to the office. Either way, getting a phone interview is a great sign!
Once You Start Applying
1. Keep a contact list easily accessible with the company name, position and contact information for each position for which you apply. This way, you know immediately who is calling and about what job.
2. If possible, give the employer your private phone number. If you provide a number that someone else may answer, be sure that person will take a detailed message and inform you immediately when an employer calls.
3. Return calls within 24 hours. If you wait much longer, they may think you aren’t interested.
4. If an employer calls unexpectedly, explain that you would like to talk but you are busy at the moment. Politely ask to schedule time to talk later in the day or week. This gives you time to mentally prepare, review your resume and the job description, and think about any questions you'd like to ask.
Before the Interview
1. Find a quiet place for the interview, and advise others to not disturb you during that time. Be ready for the call a few minutes early just in case.
2. Print out a copy of your resume and job description and get a pen and paper for taking notes.
3. Practice like you would for any other interview – even though it’s over the phone, you’ll get a lot of the same questions.
4. Dress up a little – it can make you feel more confident and professional.
During the Call
1. Carefully listen to the interviewer, consider each question, and pause briefly before answering. Although it’s easy to ramble when you’re nervous and you can’t see the body language of the interviewer, just be confident and make your answers direct and to the point.
2. Toward the end of the call, ask about the next step in the process; this shows your interest and helps you understand what to expect.
3. Get the interviewer's contact information so you can follow up later.
After You Hang Up
1. Thank the interviewer in an email. Include a sentence or two about why you're a good fit for the position, relating it to something you discussed on the phone. If you didn't answer a particular question well during the interview, you can also briefly expand upon what you said on the phone.
2. Relax and reward yourself with something you enjoy! Hopefully, you’ll be hearing be back soon and on your way to the next step in the hiring process.