March 13, 2020

10 Ways to Ace Phone Interviews

After you have submitted an outstanding  résumé and cover letter, you may receive a phone call in order to be screened for the next stage of the recruitment process, which is usually a face-to-face interview. During the phone interview, you are the faceless person on the other line and it is essential that your enthusiasm and approachability comes through during the conversation.

The first 15 seconds can either make or break your chances of getting through to the next interview phase. Here are some tips to help you ace your next phone interview:

1.       Answer the phone professionally

Take charge by answering the phone and stating your name. This shows that you’re professional and ready to call and will save the recruiter from asking for you once you pick up.

2.       Write a Cheat Sheet

Your phone interview is sort of like an open book exam. You are able to have all the resources you need in front of you to trigger the right answer or topic of conversation. If you are applying for a job and expecting a phone interview, prepare a cheat sheet with company facts, questions to ask and your  résumé to give you a confidence boost.

3.       Show the proof in the pudding

When recruiters ask for you to speak about yourself, most of the time candidates will talk about their previous experiences and what was required of their role. Your focus should not be on re-iterating what is already in your  résumé and cover letter but instead give examples of the excellent results that you’ve achieved in the past.

For example, instead of,  ”I worked in Telemarketing for 2 years and looked after outbound calls”,  you should try something like “In the 2 years that I worked in Telemarketing I brought in $X revenue for the company through outbound calls and met my KPI’s each month”.

4.       Don’t talk too much or too quickly

Listen carefully to what your interviewer is saying before you respond and speak at a steady pace before blurting out irrelevant information or speaking in tangents. Make sure that your tone is loud and clear and use check-back phrases after answering a question to make sure that you’re on the right track such as, “Does that answer your question?”

5.       Cut out ‘umms’ and ‘ahhs’

Umm’s and ahh’s can indicate that a speaker is not confident or scrambling for words. If you’ve become accustomed to using ‘umms’ and ‘ahhs’ as sentence fillers, a good tip is to write a reminder on a piece of paper and place it somewhere you can always see to break the bad habit or replace your swear jar with an “Umm and Ahh” Jar.

If you are extremely nervous then try to avoid looking at your reflection as this can make you more nervous and pace up and down the room if it helps you reduce the tension. Reducing your nerves should decrease your Umm and Ahh rate.

6.       Find a quiet room

If you are somewhere noisy or with a bad connection, ask the recruiter when is the best time for you to give them a call back so that you can make sure you’re in a quiet room. Otherwise a phone interview can be difficult and distracting with all the background noise and you would much rather be in a better setting for optimal communication.

7.       No eating or drinking

Eating or drinking during a phone interview can be irritating for a recruiter that is trying to speak over the crunching of potato chips. Also make sure you remove any gum and that you finish eating before you pick up the call so you can get your brain to focus solely on the conversation.

8.       Ask the Interviewer Questions

Be sure to listen carefully when your interviewer introduces themselves. If you have missed or forgotten their name and/or title then ask them for their details before you hang up. This will allow you to search for your interviewer on networks to find out more information about and common topics to discuss next time. This is also helpful if you would like to give the interviewer a call to follow-up on the status of your application by asking for them by their full name and having questions prepared to engage them in conversation.

During the interview, ask the interviewer specific questions about the role you have applied for and even their personal experiences with the company such as how long they have been working there for and what their experience is like so far.

You might also like: How to Read Job Advertisements Correctly to Get Shortlisted

9.       Confirm the time and date of the next conversation

Always make sure you know who will do what by when to eliminate the guess-work and to show your organisational skills. Ask the recruiter when you should expect to hear from them next and whether they will be calling you or you will be calling them as well as what number they should call instead if your mobile or land-line was unavailable.

Related Blog Post: How to get a Thai media visa (Non-Imm M)

10.   Stay on the radar

Immediately after the phone interview, send your recruiter an email to thank them for their time, that you are excited for the opportunity and you look forward to the next phone conversation.

If you haven’t included it already, supply them with links to either examples of your work or your LinkedIn profile in case their interested in finding out more information about you.

With these tips in mind I wish you the best of luck for your next phone interview and remember that practice makes perfect!

Related Post - How to Setup a Job Interview Room