Job-Search Tips: Acing Phone Interviews

In our previous post we discussed the preparation required to be successful in a telephone interview. We are now going to complete the exercise by dealing with the interview itself.

We are assuming that you have created your research and prepared the room and now you are ready to get to work. Remember one of my favorite pieces of advice, we have been given 2 ears and 1 mouth so we can listen twice as much as we talk. Not having the person in front of you allows for a wandering mind that may easily lose concentration, pay attention!

Having got your attention about listening let’s start out with some other basic rules for the session:

  • Use the interviewers formal name e.g. Mr. Jones, Miss Peters unless they suggest otherwise. Make sure you have their contact information, correct spelling of their name, title, phone number and email address.
  • Other than a small glass of water in case of ‘dry mouth’ don’t eat, drink, smoke, etc. these noises can be very easily heard on the other end of the line.
  • If you can stand up while you talk this will help your breathing and smiling can be heard by the recruiter. If you don’t believe me try it.
  • Don’t rush your answers, think about the question, think about your answer and then speak clearly and concisely. Don’t ramble on; this is as bad in a telephone interview as it is in a face to face interview.
  • Be enthusiastic, your energy will stand out. Make sure this is genuine.
  • Notes to have available, these should all have been practiced in advance.
    • Why you are no longer with or why you are leaving ABC Company.
    • Your positioning summary (fit for the job, etc.)
    • Your strengths
    • Your accomplishments
    • Your weakness
    • Your questions
  • Take notes.
  • Try to get a meeting set up for the next step (This may be a challenge) but at a minimum try to understand the hiring timeline.
  • Always say ‘Thank You’ and follow up with an appropriate note or email.

Subjects to avoid in the initial phone interview:

  • Money/Salary
  • Benefits
  • What’s in it for you
  • Commute
  • Etc.

Good hunting


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