How To Nail Your Phone Interview
Phone interviews have often been a first step in the hiring process but are becoming even more common as more companies operate remotely amid coronavirus. Without cues from body language, phone interviews can be intimidating. Our hiring experts have some great advice on how to sound confident and nail your phone interview!

Is it a real interview?

Cassie, Hiring Expert at The Hershey Company, suggests, “You should take your phone interview very seriously. Recruiters screen through resumes to narrow down the candidate pool to the most qualified candidates, so when you receive a phone interview it means on paper you appear to be one of the most qualified candidates. Sometimes recruiters receive hundreds of resumes and only phone interview a handful. Recruiters use phone interviews to determine who to submit to the hiring manager. If you don’t perform well in the phone interview you will most likely not be submitted to the next step in the interview process. It is important that you are well prepared, have done your research, and have well thought out examples for the phone interview.”  More from Cassie

Best Practices

Nell, Hiring Expert at Pitney Bowes, says, “If you get called for a phone interview it means that they like what they see in your resume and background. You have a great opportunity to make a good impression. The best advice that I can give you in terms of a phone interview is:
  1. The inflection of your voice. Make sure that you are speaking with enthusiasm and speaking clearly. The interviewer cannot see you, they can only hear you, so your voice is key.

  2. Make clear statements. It is very easy to either go on and on, or to be too short on the phone.

  3. Ask questions, and get to know the interviewer! Make sure they enjoy the interview as well. 
I would also recommend recording yourself speaking on your phone for practice. This will let you hear yourself on the other end and fine-tune how you sound.”  More from Nell

Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., shares, “Obviously, body language is a non-factor in a phone interview, but your responses and the tone in which you provide your responses is a major factor. If you sound disinterested in a phone interview, that is a red flag and will likely prevent you from getting another interview. Verbalize your enthusiasm for the position and the company in the phone interview and provide articulate and well thought out answers, and most likely, you will be asked to come in for a face-to-face interview.”  More from Steve

Preparation is Key

Charlene, Hiring Expert at Gap Inc., “Phone interviews can be your best friend. Prepare a ‘cheat’ sheet with the things that you want to ensure the interviewer knows about you. Put a list of three things that are not on your resume, things that when you look at the job description made you know this was the job for you. Maybe; work ethic,  determination, perseverance, or time management skills, and next to each one put down a specific example to demonstrate that and before hanging up the phone, ensure that your interviewer knows those three things about you. Remember a phone interview is your time to lock up the next interview so make sure you put everything out there and leave nothing unsaid.”  More from Charlene

Christianna, Hiring Expert at BNY Mellon, says, “Prior to a phone interview, consider researching the company’s vision, values & team culture. From your research determine how your past behaviors, experience, and knowledge can contribute to the company’s success. Additionally, prepare questions to ask the interviewers that speak to your interest on a particular topic relevant to the position for which you are interviewing. Recruiters are looking for a candidate that would contribute to the team, the company, and the success of the business.”  More from Christianna

Closing Thoughts

Rachel, Hiring Expert at Eaton, shares, “Interviews of any type can be nerve-wracking. The key to sounding confident is knowing what you are talking about...you. The interview is about you, what your story is, and what you want out of a career. There is nothing that they are going to ask you in a professional interview with a reputable company that should be a shock to you. Review your resume, make sure to note for each position a key deliverable/accomplishment that you have achieved, list out what you feel your strengths are and what opportunities for development you have, and your plan to address those opportunities. Ensure that you have something to drink and are dressed comfortably and in a place where you can hear and not be distracted.”  More from Rachel

If you’re feeling anxious, try standing or even walking while you talk. It makes it easier to project your voice and to work out some nerves. You’ve got this! No matter how your phone interview goes, be affirmed that you were selected from the stack of applicants for the position. It shows that your background and education highlight what a great candidate you are and that you’re well on your way to happily hired. 

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