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9 Quick Tips for a Great Phone Interview

For years, professionals have been instructed in innumerable and nuanced strategies for effective face-to-face interviews. Everything ...

For years, professionals have been instructed in innumerable and nuanced strategies for effective face-to-face interviews. Everything from body language to the kind of clothes to wear has been stressed. However, in a bid to save time and money, many employers now utilize phone interviews to screen candidates before bringing them in for in-person interviews. If you're not sure about how to work your magic on the other end of a phone call, here are some quick tips for a great phone interview:

1. Don't be caught off guard - It's best to expect a complete interview to be conducted rather than just a quick chat. Keep a copy of your resume, your references, statistics related to your experience, and questions you have for the interviewer close at hand. In case you receive a call unexpectedly, request if possible, to call back as soon as you can or keep copies of related documents on your laptop or phone.

2. Make it a home call - If you're expecting a call to come through, make sure you stay at home all day. Interviewing for a position when seated at Starbucks or the local diner may seem comfortable to you but will come off as unprofessional to a recruiter. And using a cell phone, which can lead to dropped calls and bad reception, will only undermine the process further. Similarly, conducting an interview at your current place of work is both discourteous to your current employer and unwise.

3. Smile while talking - Even if the interviewer can't see your face, a smile is conveyed through your tone of voice as both confidence and maturity. Make sure to stay enthusiastic and engaged.

4. Learn to mute - It is understandable that you may need a drink of water during an hour long interview, but the person on the phone need not know that. Use the 'mute' button for drinking water, changing positions, coughing, or even when typing.

5. Don't talk about the salary - Even though recruiters use phone interviews to save on costs, there are still some topics best covered in person. If the question of expected salary comes up, mention how you would prefer discussing the matter in person. If the recruiter insists, try to have a range prepared for your field and level and express that your expectations fall within that range.

6. Prepare answers beforehand - You may feel that spontaneous answers work better for you, but it is still best to note answers to possible questions beforehand. Questions related to knowledge of your field, future goals, and strengths and weaknesses are sure to arise but it is easy to trip up if unprepared. Hiring a professional job search coach to assist you in interview preparation may prove to be good investment.

7. Be polite - Even if you're on the phone with someone and not meeting in person, etiquette matters. Allow the interviewer to finish before you speak. Ask questions in a friendly yet polite manner and keep all distractions - family or pets - out of the room.

8. Convince the interviewer - The point of the interview is to convince the other person you are fit for the job. Going off topic, jumping from point to point, and talking in circles do the opposite. Be concise and informative in order to get your main point across.

9. Apologize for any faux pas - Simple mistakes such as hearing a name wrong or misunderstanding a question should be immediately apologized for. Trying to cover them up only makes things worse.

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