Preparing for a phone interview should be treated in exactly the same way as when you are going for an interview in person. You will still be talking with the very same people you would likely meet in a face-to-face interview, and you may still be asked the same questions, so you have to be equally prepared.
Also, brushing up on the company history will enable you to answer your interview questions with much more ease rather than have to scramble for answers while talking on the phone.
Following on from our previous article about the dos and don’ts of taking a phone interview, lets take a look at a few more top tips to help you win a place at second interview.
Check Your Phone
Always make sure you check your phone well before your phone interview. If you can choose between using a mobile phone or a landline to take your interview, then using a landline will give you a much clearer and more reliable connection. If you choose to use your landline phone, make sure you take your call in a quiet place away from noisy distractions such as the TV or radio playing in the background, or a younger sibling running around laughing or playing too loudly.
If you choose to use your mobile / cell phone, then make sure you have not got it set to silent or that you have incoming calls diverted to voicemail. Check the battery and put it on charge the night before your phone interview to ensure you don’t run out of juice half way through your call, or you need to go searching for your phone charger while answering a question.
Prepare In Advance
Give yourself a good 30 minutes before your phone interview to prepare yourself. This means having your resume and cover letter set out in front of you for easy reference. Your laptop open and muted with a browser open on the company website should your interviewer ask you to look at a page on their site or you need to find some information quickly. Having the company website open in front of you can also keep your mind focused on the interview and their information fresh in your mind.
Call In Early
If you are supposed to call in to the company for your phone interview, then don’t wait to call until your interview time. If you have been asked to phone in for a 10.30 am interview, then ensure that you call at least two or three minutes before this. You will want your call to reach your interviewer right on time to create a good first impression. Quite often calling in for a scheduled phone interview can mean talking to the company reception desk and having your call transferred. This can take longer than you may expect, so it pays to call a couple of minutes early should the line be busy because the receptionist is on another call, or you are kept waiting on hold while being transferred.
Don’t Talk Too Much
You have to admit that with a real-life, face-to-face interview you are in a better position to read facial expressions and body language. You can take in visual clues about when to stop talking and allow the interview to move on. This is much harder to interpret over the phone, so the best thing you can do is to try to answer any questions concisely without talking too much. It is very easy to ramble on about a subject, especially if the interviewer is asking you about your hobbies and personal interests.
Remember that your interviewer will be listening out for key information only. Anything extra to this will just result in them switching off and stop paying attention to the conversation. Should this happen, you may well come across to the interviewer as someone who doesn’t listen well to instructions and may well procrastinate when asked to do a task. Keep your answers short, sweet and valuable.
Speak Up if you Cannot Hear
Should you have difficulty hearing your interviewer, don’t be afraid to speak up. You may have an interviewer with a very soft or quiet voice that makes it hard for you to hear the questions being asked clearly. Don’t be scared to ask for them to speak a little louder or to repeat the question because you didn’t hear them clearly. It is better to politely ask them to speak up rather than go through the interview misunderstanding questions because you cannot hear them properly.
If you are unlucky enough to experience a bad connection, then explain to your interviewer that you think the line is bad and ask if you can disconnect and try again. This is a much better approach than trying to struggle through the interview unable to hear clearly.