How to prepare for a phone interview

A phone interview is a very common way for companies to screen potential employment candidates. Once the hiring manager reviews the resumes they have received, there is a list of preliminary candidates that is created. Those are the candidates that will begin the interview process with a phone interview. The important thing that every employment candidate must remember is that a phone interview is just as critical to the recruiting process as any other kind of interview. A successful employment candidate will treat the phone interview very seriously and take the necessary steps to be completely prepared.

Why a Phone Interview?

Why do companies use a phone interview in the first place? By using phone interviews, the company can screen more potential candidates and increase the chances of finding the right candidate for the job. A phone interview is convenient for the candidates and the hiring manager as it does not require either of them to take any excessive time from their day. A phone interview allows the hiring manager to have a low level of personal contact with the candidate, without asking the candidate to come into the office for an interview. That low level of personal contact can help the hiring manager to get a preliminary idea as to the decisiveness and confidence of the candidate through voice inflection, rate of response, and other vocal indicators that hiring managers are trained to listen for.

Practice

During a phone interview, the hiring manager will be listening to many different aspects of your voice as you answer questions. Hesitation or a lack of confidence can be detected over the phone, and you should work to eliminate them from your process. You can practice for your phone interview by asking a friend to help you, or by recording your own voice as you answer questions. Just as you would be concerned with eye contact and posture during a face-to-face interview, you should listen for your own voice inflection and the flow of your answers. You can practice over the phone, or you can sit back to back with a friend or relative and ask them to give input on how you answer interview questions.

During the Interview

Even though the interview takes place over the phone, you will still find yourself feeling anxious as the time for that call rolls around. Prior to your interview, make sure that you can lock yourself in a room where you cannot be bothered. If your family will be home while you are giving your interview, then instruct everyone to leave you alone until the interview is done. Get yourself alone in a room at least 10 minutes before the interview begins and relax. Take deep breaths and practice giving answers to questions. Your diction is critical during a phone interview, so be sure to calm your nerves and slow down your speech. Think about each word you say and answer each question with confidence. Smile and be cheerful when you are giving the interview because a smile can be heard over the phone. Answer telephone interview questions in the same concise but complete way you would answer in-person interview questions. Do not panic if the hiring manager suddenly goes quiet on the other end as they may be making notes or have you on mute so they can talk to someone else. The most important thing is to relax and remain confident throughout the entire process.