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While it may seem intimidating, having a phone interview can have some benefits for both the employer and the potential employee. Typically, phone interviews tend to take up less time than meeting in person. As the person getting interviewed, it can be extremely helpful to be unseen. Using the phone interview tips listed in this article will help you take advantage of having a phone interview so that you can land the job with ease.

Whether your interview is on the phone because it’s an out-of-town position, requires travel, or you happen to be out of town it is important to treat it as if it is an in-person interview. Phone interviews have their own set of standards and etiquette, and it is so important to know the ins and outs of it so you can make a good first impression.

If this is your first phone interview and you aren’t sure what to expect, then you are in the right place. After reading this article, you will have the top 12 most important phone interview tips at the tips of your fingers, so get ready to land the job!

Product FAQ

Top 12 Most Important Phone Interview Tips

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1. What Is a Phone Interview?

2. What Is the Purpose of a Phone Interview?

3. What Can You Expect From a Phone Interview?

4. What Are Some Phone Interview Tips for Preparing Beforehand?

What We Reviewed

  • Practice the Interview
  • Take It As Seriously As an In-Person Interview
  • Create a Checklist
  • Focus and Cut Out All Distractions
  • Do’s and Don’ts During an Interview
  • Listen and Do Not Dominate
  • Research before the Interview
  • Learn Proper Phone Interview Etiquette
  • Have a Cheat Sheet
  • Do Not Forget about Common Interview Questions
  • Have a Personal Branding Website
  • Make Sure to Follow Up

Practice the Interview

It may seem unnecessary to practice the interview, but it can be an extremely beneficial way to prepare for the actual interview. Talking on the phone may seem easy enough, but sometimes we don’t realize habits that may make you look unsure or unprofessional.

Having a practice interview with a friend or family member will give you an idea of what you sound like on the phone, if you say “um” or “uh” too much, talk too fast, too slow, or if you fail to enunciate certain words. Not only will you catch these easy to miss habits, but you will also begin to memorize the answers to the interview questions. Make things easy on yourself and go through a few practice runs to be sure you are ready to go.

Take It As Seriously As an In-Person Interview

Applicant and interviewer

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It may seem like you can be a little more relaxed, but this could be a huge mistake. Just because it is on the phone does not take the seriousness out of the situation. It is still an interview and taking it seriously will mean the difference of you landing the job or not! Pretend as if you are going in to talk to someone as you prepare. Get plenty of sleep, make sure you have plenty of time set aside to go through the interview, and even put on some nice clothes that make you feel professional.

Create a Checklist

Most Important Phone Interview Tips

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One great thing about interviewing over the phone is that you can keep checklists and cheat sheets without the recruiter seeing. Have a checklist of all the qualifications for the job and what you bring to the table to meet these qualifications. Keep the list in front of you during the interview so you can glance over and use it as needed.

Focus and Cut Out All Distractions

Most Important Phone Interview Tips

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Make sure that your environment is quiet and distraction free. This means remove yourself from kids, dogs, or family members who may make noise or distract you as they walk by. Turn off the TV, radio, and computer. You want to be comfortable, of course, but getting too comfortable where distractions are taking over your focus will be obvious to the recruiter. If you seem distracted, it may come off like you do not want the job all that badly. Not only that, but nobody wants to hear the TV or any loud noises in the background during a conversation.

Do’s and Don’ts During an Interview

DO's 

  • Use their title and only use their first name if you are told to
  • Smile; the person will be able to tell by your tone of voice
  • Have a glass of water handy in case of a scratchy or dry throat
  • Focus, listen, and enunciate
  • Take your time; don’t be afraid to take a few moments to collect your thoughts
  • Have questions ready for the interviewer
  • Smile; the person will be able to tell by your tone of voice
  • Remember your goal is to land a face-to-face interview; ask at the end of the interview if it would be okay to talk in person

PROS 

DONT's

  • Smoke, chew gum, eat food, or drink anything other than a sip of water here and there
  • Interrupt the interviewer or talk over them

Listen and Do Not Dominate

Most Important Phone Interview Tips

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Although the point of the interview is for them to hear the answers to your questions, it is a good time to show that you are an excellent listener. Talk when it’s your turn and let the interviewer guide the conversation. Treat this as an opportunity to not only let them get to know about you, but to get to know them a little better as well. Breathe, smile, and speak clearly!

Research before the Interview

Most Important Phone Interview Tips

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It’s likely that this isn’t the only job you have applied for recently. It is always helpful to know about the company and a little bit about who you’re speaking with.

Make sure you double check the job description so you are clear on exactly what they are looking for. Look at the company website to find their mission statement and read around their “about” section. When questions about your qualifications come up, you can tailor it to the company’s mission and values, making you the perfect candidate for the job! They are looking for a very specific type of person, so doing your research beforehand ensures that you don’t leave any valuable details out of the equation.

Learn Proper Phone Interview Etiquette

Most Important Phone Interview Tips

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Using proper phone etiquette is one of the most important phone interview tips, and it sets your first impression. Let friends and family members know that you are expecting an important call and that you will need to answer the phone.

Once you answer the phone, make sure you say your name so that the interviewer knows they called the right person. Never interrupt or speak over the person speaking. If something pops up in your brain that you are afraid to forget, have a piece of paper and pen handy to write things out. If you need a few moments to gather your thoughts, that is completely okay, but make sure not to leave completely dead air. Have them repeat the question if you need it.

Having a Cheat Sheet

Most Important Phone Interview Tips

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Have a list of common interview questions and your answers. If written, make sure it is legible enough to read since you will need to think and talk on your feet. In addition to having responses to their questions, make sure that you have your own list of questions you want to ask once the interview is over. Asking the right questions will further ensure that the job is a right fit for both you and your potential employer. You could also keep a short list of some of these phone interview tips as a reminder.

Have a Personal Branding Website

This is one of the phone interview tips that not many people utilize. Having a personal branding website is an incredibly powerful tool you can use to land the perfect job. Having one will impress your interviewer and potential employer, and you will be sure to stand out from the rest of the candidates. A personal branding website can be more entertaining to read over than a resume, so let your personality shine! At the end of the day, your goal is to be memorable. Everyone will be handing in a resume, cover letter, and answering questions during a phone interview. However, by taking this extra step you suddenly stand out from your competition in a professional way. Often at the end of the interview, they will ask if there is anything else they need to know about you. At this point, you can say, “Yes, take a look at my website. It will give you a good idea of my accomplishments, skills, and most importantly, the type of person you will be working with if you hire me.”

Make Sure to Follow-Up

Most Important Phone Interview Tips

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Once the interview is completed, make sure you always say thank you to the person for taking the time to interview you. Ask for their email address if you do not already have it on hand. After you get off of the phone, send a thank you email restating your interest in the position.

The Verdict

Using the above phone interview tips will help you nail your phone interview and get you scheduled for an in-person interview. Making sure you are prepared before any interview will save you stress and allow you to be one step ahead when talking to the interviewer. This is your first impression, so you want it to count. Have a list of potential interview questions as well as questions you will want to ask, use proper phone etiquette, eliminate distractions, take it seriously, and make sure that you never interrupt your interviewer. One of the main phone interview tips we highly recommend having a personal branding website. After you not only nail the interview but give them proof of your hard work and dedication, you will be the obvious choice for the job!

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