Tips for a Phone Interview

A telephone interview often feels less threatening than a face-to-face job interview. To maximize your success in a phone interview, take advantage of the increased flexibility without neglecting proper etiquette or preparation. Do not give in to the temptation to treat the interview as a casual telephone conversation. It is an important step on your path to a new job.

Before the Phone Interview

Find a quiet space where you will be free from interruptions for the duration of the interview. If you are going to be using a cell phone, test the space in advance to make sure you get good reception. A poor connection can disrupt conversation and put you off your game during the interview. Have a pen and a pad of paper available so that you can take notes.

Prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer. Make sure they are relevant, intelligent questions that are not answered in the materials you have already received or on the company's website. Take some time to think about your most impressive and relevant experience and job skills. Boil these down into a few bullet points that you can sprinkle throughout the conversation to demonstrate why you are an outstanding candidate for the job.

During the Phone Interview

Speak slowly and clearly to make sure that the interviewer can understand you over the phone. Project genuine energy and enthusiasm for the job as you speak. Telephones can clip your words and dull your voice modulation, which can give the impression that you are not as interested in the job as you really are. One way you can improve your telephone presence is to smile while you talk. Even though your smile will not be visible over the phone, it will change your tone of voice and communicate enthusiasm and confidence as you interview.

Take brief notes to record important facts about the job or questions that arise during the interview. Mark off any of your questions that get answered in the course of the interview to remind yourself that you no longer need to ask them. As opportunities arise to talk about your job qualifications, mention the skills and experiences you listed in advance.

When the interviewer gives you the chance to ask questions, ask any questions you still have about the job. At minimum, it's a good idea to ask about the next steps in the hiring process and the expected timeline. Thank the interviewer for taking the time to interview you and let the interviewer hang up first.

After the Phone Interview

Revisit your notes immediately, filling them out with details you didn't have time to write down during the interview and double-checking for remaining questions you can ask when you follow up on the job. Do your best not to delay this step. Waiting even an hour or two can significantly reduce how much you recall, while an immediate review will cement the main points of the interview in your mind.

Write a thank-you note within a few days. Keep it succinct and professional. Thank your interviewer for the opportunity to discuss the job and briefly highlight a few reasons you would be an especially good match for the job. You can also use the note to ask one or two follow-up questions. Reiterate your enthusiasm about the job and provide your contact information for the interviewer's convenience.