Several years ago I was scheduled for a phone interview with a field group manager in Boise Idaho. I remember that interview well, since it is the only phone interview I can remember having. I quite enjoyed the experience—laying on the couch in my living room, feet kicked up, drinking a cup of hot cocoa, gazing distractedly out the window—this is the way all interviews should be!
I have also had the opportunity to conduct phone interviews with job candidates. Now I know what I could have done differently. I use this information to advise my clients who have had little success in their phone interviews.
It all boils down to this: treat the phone interview EXACTLY as you would an in-person interview.
When I say exactly, I mean exactly. You wouldn’t go to a job interview in pajama bottoms and a robe, so don’t wear them to a phone interview. You wouldn’t bring crying or playing children to an interview, so go someplace where you can be alone and undistracted.
Now some of this sounds like common sense, and some doesn’t. Is it that important to make sure you’re in a suit and your hair done? Speaking as one who has conducted the interviews via phone, I would say yes. It’s psychological—you sound more professional when you dress professional. I could hear the difference over the phone.
Prepare for your phone interview exactly as you would in person. Have notes to help you with answering interview questions. Do your research of the company ahead of time. Anticipate the questions they might ask and prepare—and rehearse—the answers. But one additional thing needs to be considered – the mode of communication. Are they calling you? Do they have your correct phone number? If it is a cell phone, is it turned up so you can hear when it rings? Are you in a good reception area? If you are calling them, do you have their correct number? Do you know who to ask for?
And just as you would in an in-person interview, send them a thank-you note. That little extra touch can go a long way.