You may be asked to participate in a phone interview prior to or instead of a traditional in-person meeting. Employers often use phone interviews as a way to screen candidates to get a good idea of their personality and aptitudes. Being prepared is key, so consider the following useful tips to ace your next phone interview.
Prepare Your Environment
Create a clean, clutter-free space to use during your phone interview. Have an extra copy of your resume and cover letter, as well as the job description, available for you to reference during your call. Keep pets, children and other potential distractions out of the room. You don't want background noise to steal your focus while you're speaking with the interviewer.
Practice Your Answers
Just as you would with a traditional sit-down interview, you should practice your answers to common interview questions before your phone interview. Create a list of interview questions, such as "Tell me about yourself" or "What is your greatest weakness?" Practice answering each question with as much confidence and detail as you can, providing interesting story examples where applicable. The more your practice and rehearse your answers beforehand, the more confident and natural you are likely to sound during the call.
Ask the Right Questions
It's always good to come to the interview with your own set of questions to ask, but make sure they're the right ones. The phone interview is a preliminary step in the hiring process, so it's definitely not the time to ask about benefits, salary, vacation time or working from home. Basically, any questions regarding what the company can do for you should be off-limits at this time. Instead, focus on asking questions about company culture, the ins and outs of the position, and what it's like to work there.
Find Out What's Next
Once the question and answer session is over, don't let the phone call end without finding out the next steps. Express how serious you are about this opportunity, and ask the interviewer for the name, email address and phone number of your next contact person. If an face-to-face meeting is not scheduled at the end of your phone interview, ask for a general timeline with which you can follow up with that person.
Say 'Thank You'
Saying 'thank you' after the phone interview is important. It shows the interviewer that you have good manners and respect his time and consideration. A hand-written thank-you note is a nice touch, but an emailed note is perfectly acceptable.
The phone interview is often used by employers to quickly and easily weed out weaker applicants before setting up in-person meetings, but that doesn't mean you should take it any less seriously than a traditional interview. Prepare ahead of time, and do your best to maintain your confidence and professionalism throughout the call. The better you do during the phone interview, the more likely you'll move through to the next stage of the hiring process.
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