In some ways, phone interviews relieve some of the pressure of meeting potential employers. You don’t have to worry about getting dressed up; shaking hands when your palms are sweaty; or having to travel to an unknown location before your interview time. However, just because you can have the conversation in your pajamas does not give you license to be entirely lax about the exchange. Below are tips on how to prepare for a phone interview.
1) Take the time to find a quiet space without distractions. Your home office is the ideal environment, and make sure to let any companions know that you are not to be disturbed before or during your phone interview. However, what do you do if going home is not an option? Often these conversations take place during work hours, times in which you may be at another job or school. At least a day prior to the actual exchange, scout out various settings in which you’ll have the greatest privacy, space and control over the noise volume. One option is to park your car somewhere secluded, though valuable Internet access may be greatly limited. Another is to go to a roomier coffee shop during off-hours (like 3 PM) and request a table far away from the rest; go at least twenty minutes in advance so, if the establishment is abnormally chaotic, you can find another. If unlucky circumstances make it so a particularly noisy family rolls in half-way through your interview, simply explain the situation to your interviewer and ask for him or her to patiently wait as you find another table farther away. Days before the actual phone interview, prepare by making sure there is clear reception.
2) Print out documents and strategically organize. Interviewers will almost always immediately nix a potential employee if he or she demonstrates lack of research about the company. Therefore, prepare for your phone interview by taking notes on the about section of the website; printing out their published case studies; reviewing the job description and requirements; and having your resume and written questions ready to be procured. Sort the various papers in a logical order so, in the heat of the moment, you aren’t left shuffling leaflets about. Prepare for the phone interview by highlighting key elements on the pages so you know specifically where to look so you don’t waste valuable time scanning small font.
3) Call a friend beforehand. While you will want to keep your phone open, make sure that the interviewer isn’t the first person you’re talking to in the morning or during the last few hours. In order to calm your nerves and become acclimated to conversing over the phone, prepare for the interview by simply having a casual dialogue with a loved one. Practice controlling your tone, using formal jargon and smiling while you talk; therefore, when the actual interview occurs, these particulars won’t feel so unnatural.
4) Don’t write down answers to questions you’re anticipating. Do you frequently receive feedback that you talk too quickly? Nerves will make this even worse, and reading words off a page makes the temptation to speed-talk even greater. If you have prepared for your phone interview by concocting answers to common questions, write down a mere few words that will jog your memory.
5) Erase silly voice mail messages and record a professional one. This is a step that all job-seekers and young professionals should take, but it especially rings true for those preparing for a phone interview. The questioner may call a few minutes early and, if they hear an immature voice mail recording, he or she may be permanently turned off.
6) Be fully awake. As obvious as it may seem, if your interview is early in the morning, do not wake up fifteen minutes beforehand. Take whatever steps you need to in order to be the best version of you; shower away the grogginess, have a cup of coffee and breakfast . . . and do not go out partying the night before and interview with a hangover. Try to have a glass of water next to your during the interview so, if your vocal cords become hoarse, you’ll have lubrication.