Quick Tips for Your Next Phone Interview

John Krautzel
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A phone interview is just as important as a face-to-face interview because it typically serves as a way to screen applicants for the next step in the hiring process. Showcase your professionalism and put your best foot forward by highlighting your skills and qualifications from the start of the conversation. Consider these tips to impress the hiring manager and continue forward to the next step of the interview process.

Listen, Listen, Listen

It's tempting to try and fill pauses in the conversation during a phone interview, but it's crucial to listen intently to what the interviewer has to say without dominating the discussion. Answer the interview questions thoroughly and professionally, and then let the hiring manager guide the discussion. Let the pauses come naturally; the hiring manager might be taking notes. Pauses may seem awkward at first but trying to fill the silence may be even more awkward.

Stay On Topic

You have limited time to make a positive impression during a phone interview. Therefore, use your time wisely by staying on topic. Answer the interview questions directly and focus on information that is relevant to the position. Outline your skills that match the job description and provide details about positions you've held that are similar to the job available. Avoid transitioning into information about your personal life when the conversation lulls.

Reference the Company

Hiring managers need to learn about your qualifications and skills, but it's also important to spend time during the phone interview discussing what you know about the firm. During your job search, research the company extensively so you can reference the firm's accomplishments, product line and services. Employers find it impressive when candidates are prepared and knowledgeable about the company. Use this information to highlight how your work ethic, personality and skills are a solid match for the company when answering questions.

Ask Questions

While preparing for the phone interview, make a list of questions to ask the employer. It is common for hiring managers to reserve time for questions, and you don't want to seem unprepared. Compile questions that show you are interested in the firm's goals. Ask about the work environment, opportunities for advancement and the overall company culture. Frame your questions to show that you are invested in making an impact as an employee.

A typical face-to-face interview gives you a chance to show your enthusiasm through body language, but a phone interview is much different. Show you are eager and professional by detailing your skills and qualifications, answering questions directly and portraying a pleasant tone of voice to further impress hiring managers. Take this opportunity to show that you are ready to join the team and move on to the next stage of the hiring process.


Photo Courtesy of GreenZoner Egypt at Flickr.com

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Julie L thanks for your comment. How did you apply for the position without having a resume? Not sure where you applied but I would assume that your application fell dead on the other side - when you applied without a resume. Most companies use applicant tracking software (ATS) to screen your resume. Without a resume, I would imagine that your application was discarded. In addition, not all places will do a phone screening let alone an interview over the phone. You might want to follow up with this. See if you can find a number to call to make sure that your application actually went through.

  • Julie L.
    Julie L.

    I just filled out the application for airport ramp agent, but do not have a resume typed up at this time. Can I skip to the phone interview?

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