6 Steps to a Successful Phone Interview
After submitting many resumes and cover letters, you finally got good news — a recruiter wants to schedule a phone interview with you! Take a few minutes to celebrate, but then it’s time to start preparing.
If you’re stuck on where to start, don’t worry. These steps will help you wow any recruiter and advance in the interview process.
- Do Your Research
First things first, you need to do your research on the company. You may have done a bit of digging when you first applied, but now it’s time to really dive in. Search the company name and you’ll likely find news articles, press releases and outlets where employees were quoted. Read it all so you’re familiar with what’s going on at the company and their stance on things. Then head to their company website and see if they have a careers or news page. They will likely talk a bit about their culture, social events, and volunteer efforts, which is all valuable information. Plus, it will give you something to chat about with the recruiter or ask questions about. Finally, head to sites like Indeed or Glassdoor and see what current and past employees have to say about working there. But remember that this is just one person’s opinion so form your own as you head into the interview process.
- Practice, Practice, Practice
Even if you’re a phone person, it’s important to practice what you want to say to make sure you get your point across. You may only have 15 minutes to explain to the recruiter why you’re the best person for the job and convince them to move you on in the process. Start by writing down why you think you’re the right fit for the role and the skills and experience that are directly related to the open role. Then say it out loud, either to yourself or to a willing friend or family member. Speaking and writing can be two different things and you want to sound comfortable and confident on the phone. It can also be helpful to do a mock interview. Typically a phone interview consists of very basic questions, so have the same friend or family member lob a few at you so you can practice your responses. These could be anything from “Tell me a bit about yourself.” to “What’s your biggest weakness?”.
- Use Your Materials
The best part of a phone interview is that the interviewer can’t see you. That means you can have your resume, cover letter and notes right in front of you as you have the conversation. Use this to your advantage. Yes, you’ll have practiced what you want to say, but having bullet points of what you want to say is very helpful. And they will likely have your application materials in front of them, so why shouldn’t you?
- Be Confident
As in any interview situation, come to the table (or phone) exuding confidence. If you’re convinced that you’re the right person for the job then it’s easier for someone else to think so, too. Speak with an authoritative tone, don’t use filler words and take time to think about thoughtful answers. A brief pause or hesitation is okay if you follow it up with a strong response.
- Ask About The Process
Now is the perfect time to ask the recruiter about the company’s hiring process. This gives you major insight into the company but also on how urgent they need the position filled, allowing you to plan ahead should you move forward in the process. Ask at the end of the interview if they haven’t already explained how they hire new employees.
- Follow Up
It goes without saying that after every interview — phone or not — you need to follow up. Send a quick note within 24 hours thanking your interviewer for their time and include something personal or something you discussed on the phone. That way, if they had back to back calls with multiple candidates, they will have a frame of reference for who you are.
So, next time you hear back from a recruiter requesting to jump on a phone call don’t panic. Follow these six steps and you’ll be moving on in the interview process in no time.