How To: Ace a Phone Interview

Interviewing in general can be a nerve-wracking process, but phone interviews can be especially difficult. While, on one hand, you don’t have to worry about finding the perfect interview outfit, it’s also more challenging to communicate your enthusiasm for the position, without being face to face with the interviewer.

So how do you ace that phone interview? First, start by picking a good time and place to take the call. You want to pick a time and place where you will have minimal outside distractions – don’t pick a public place if you can avoid it. If you have to take the call during work or at school, scout out a quiet corner with little to no traffic ahead of the time.

Second, this is simple but something you still should double-check: make sure your cell phone is charged (unless you are using a land line). The last thing you want to worry about when you’re on a phone interview is whether or not your phone will unexpectedly die in the middle of it.

Third, practice speaking your answers out loud and make sure your voice is clear and easy to understand. If you talk too softly, or too fast, it might be difficult for the interviewer to understand you over the phone.

Fourth, prepare just as you would for a face-to-face interview. Search the Internet for routine interview questions and practice answering them in a concise, thoughtful way. Be familiar with your resume and qualifications, so that you are able to speak about them at length, if asked.

It’s also a good idea to keep your resume and a bulleted list of key points in front of you. The one big advantage of a phone interview is that the interviewer cannot see you – so you are free to “cheat” and have your materials in front of you, in case you need to reference them. The “key points” cheat sheet should ideally include your main selling points as well as relevant information about the company, position, and interviewer.

For a phone interview, you should also prepare a few good questions to ask the interviewer. These questions should not include anything that could be found on their website, but instead should show that you have solid working knowledge of their organization and the position you’ve applied for.

Lastly, be sure to thank the interview both at the end of the interview, as well as afterwards in an email. The thank-you email should be short and sweet – let them know that you appreciated their time, are highly interested in the position, feel that you’re qualified, and look forward to hearing from them.

Want more advice on how to ace your next phone interview? Read this article on Ms. Career Girl.

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