Learning what phone interview tips are all about can mean the difference between getting a face-to-face job interview and continuing your job search.

A growing number of employers are using telephone job interviews. They save time and money when searching for qualified employees. A telephone interview screen is used to…

  • identify qualified candidates for face-to-face interviews
  • lessen the expense of interviewing out-of-town job applicants
  • lessens the interviewers bias about the interviewee’s appearance in the face-to-face interview

A telephone job interview is commonly done by a recruiter or human resource person. This individual will ask several questions that can take a few minutes or close to an hour.

A telephone job interview is just as important as a face-to-face interview. Your goal is to get an in person face-to-face job interview with the employer.

In your job search be prepared for a scheduled or unscheduled telephone job interview. Surprise phone interviews can happen at any time! The following are the different kinds of telephone interviews.

  • An employer scheduled phone interview
  • A call you make to the interviewer that becomes an interview
  • A surprise call from an interviewer from a previous contact

Since you never know when the telephone will ring positive preparation and planning are essential. Imagine just getting out the bath tub and getting a call from a job interviewer.

This person informs you they are calling in response to a job you applied for 3 months ago! Keep a log of the jobs you have applied for in the last 6-8 weeks. If it is really inconvenient for you to talk politely ask for a number to call back.

phone interview tips

A Phone Screen Interview…

…can be very embarrassing if you have not previously taken the time to get ready for it. You should be prepared to give details about your skills, background and answer common job interview questions. To learn more about the most common job interview questions and answers follow this link to good job interview answers.

Some employers like to call job applicants with…

…phone interview questions…

…in evening hours when you are more relaxed and will give more truthful responses. Some interviewers or recruiters like to catch you when you least expect it so you don’t have time to rehearse your answers.

Preparing for a telephone interview

Treat the telephone job interview questions with the same importance as a face-to-face job interview. Being at home in comfortable surroundings could be a telephone job interview trap if you haven’t done your homework. Make sure you have researched the position and the employer.
phone interview tips

As a job applicant, you do not have any control over unscheduled telephone job interview questions. However, the following are some phone interviewing tips that will keep you ready for a phone job interview.

Know the interviewer
If possible learn who the job interviewer or recruiter is before the telephone interview. Sometimes there may be more than one. By getting familiar with the job interviewer you may gain some insight into their expectations in the telephone interview.

Organize yourself
Have a list of your accomplishments, strengths, weaknesses and goals because the interviewer will probably ask about them.

Job description, cover letter and resume
Keep these documents in plain view near the phone you will most likely use. Review the job description to be certain of what the employer is searching for. Keep paper and pen ready for note taking.

Practice the telephone interview questions
Rehearse phone interview questions and answers with family or friends. Tell them to give you their honest opinion to better develop your answers. Record these rehearsals to see how you sound. Try to keep an even positive tone to your voice while eliminating the ums, uhs, you knows, etc. Remember to speak slowly and clearly.

Use a land telephone
One of the better phone interview tips deals with the quality of the phone used. Try to avoid using a cell or poor quality phone that goes snap, crackle, pop. The worst thing to happen would be for the phone to die altogether during the telephone job interview questions. Oh, and be sure to turn off the call waiting before the interview!

Family and friends
Make sure everyone in the home knows about the coming phone interview. They should be made aware that every phone call should answered courteous and politely.

Have a cheat sheet
The interviewer will not know you have info already prepared to answer questions or make specific points about your job skills.

phone interview tips

Telephone Job Interviews

If an employer has scheduled you for a phone job interview it removes the pressure of the surprise telephone interview. However, because it’s a telephone job screen means the employer was not that impressed with your resume.

You would have most likely been called in for a face-to-face if your resume had really wowed them. The interviewer could also be in the next town or next state. That’s why telephone interviews are to be taken seriously. This is your opportunity to prove you are the one for the job during this telephone interview.

Here are some phone interview tips to keep in mind during the interview whether scheduled or not.

  • Do not interrupt the job interviewer or recruiter.
  • If the interview is scheduled dress as you would for a face-to-face interview. You will feel professional and it will come across that way to the interviewer.
  • Remove all distractions like tv, music, family members from the room.
  • Have a glass of water ready. If you need to cough, turn away and always say “excuse me”.
  • As I mentioned earlier, turn off call waiting.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Take your time and to give short clear answers.
  • No eating, drinking, smoking or gum chewing.
  • Stay focused on the goal of getting the face-to-face job interview
  • Smile it projects a positive image to the interviewer.
  • Only use the interviewers first name if the ask you, otherwise use their title (Mr.,Ms. plus last name).
  • Use good posture and sit up straight.

Always tailor your answers to phone interview questions in a way that matches the needs of the job you are applying for. This will give the interviewer the impression that you are qualified for the job and the confidence to schedule you the all important face to face interview.

phone interview tips

Another Phone Interview Tip

Among other phone interview tips, when the telephone interview ends make sure you enthusiastically tell the recruiter that you are very interested in the job. Inquire about what happens next in the interview process. Ask the phone screen interviewer if they have any concerns about the interview or your answers that need to be addressed.

Remember to take notes on what was asked and what you answered. Very politely thank the interviewer and again emphasize your interest in the position. Always follow up the telephone and face-to-face interview with a thank you note.

This reinforces to the employer your sincerity in wanting the job. Sometimes telephone interview questions like face-to-face interview questions may be inappropriate or illegal.

To learn more about illegal job interview questions follow this link to my illegal interview questions page.

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