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New Year, New Job: How To Prepare For A Phone Interview

With the new year rapidly approaching, many of you may be on the hunt for a new and exciting job opportunity. Once you’ve applied, you might hear from several hiring managers asking if you’re available to take some time out of your day to complete a phone interview.

For some, the first-round phone interview can be a stressful and nerve-inducing experience. Unlike an in-person interview, you can’t rely on strong non-verbal communication skills and body language to help — your greatest assets have to be your voice and the delivery of your answers. However, if you’re prepared and go into the interview with an organized approach, you can cement yourself as a stand-out in the eyes of the hiring manager. Here are several tips to help you get there:

Do Your Research

Before your interview, make sure you have a solid foundation of knowledge about the company. Have a clear understanding of what they do, what they’re known for, and any milestones the company may have achieved over the past couple of years. If they’re a company who has recently been featured in the news, make it clear to the hiring manager that you know about it.

Since there can be an extended period of time between applying for a job and getting a response, it’s considered a best practice to either bookmark each job you apply for or print the job descriptions so you don’t forget about them. You want to ensure that you know the role you applied for inside and out, as hiring managers can lose interest if it’s clear you aren’t knowledgeable about the job you are interested in filling.

Prepare Notes

Phone interviews are like open-notebook tests you may have taken in school, so take advantage of this opportunity to have everything you need to know and want to say at your disposal. Before your interview, take some time to write down a list of skills and experiences you want the person interviewing you to know. By having a copy of your resume and the job posting side-by-side, you can highlight how your past experiences and set of skills can prove beneficial to the company should they select you for the role.

Get Ready As If You Were Going To An In-Person Interview

Because you’re not going to be meeting anyone face-to-face, it can be tempting to do the interview in your comfortable sweats. However, state-of-mind is just as important during an interview as being relaxed and comfortable. Before the interview, prepare as if you were meeting the hiring manager later that day. Put on your best interview outfit and find a quiet and calm place where you can easily access your notes during the conversation.

Be Concise And Don’t Rush

Since phone interviews tend to fall on the shorter side (between 10 to 30 minutes), it’s easy to feel pressure to list everything you have ever done during that time. While you may be anxious for a hiring manager to know why you’re the right fit for the job, remember that it’s important to listen to what they have to say and wait for them to finish before you respond. Having a set list of several key skills and experiences that you want to highlight laid out prior to the interview can help you stay focused during the call.

Be Human

While you want to make sure the interviewer has a clear understanding of your strengths, don’t shy away from sharing a personal story or two about your time in a previous role.  It’s important for a hiring manager to know that you are a strong fit for the role, but it’s equally as important for them to know that you’re human and have a personality that will be a perfect match for their company.

Always Follow-Up

During the phone interview process, the person who interviewed you will be speaking with several other candidates to sort out who the best person for the role will be.  As a courtesy and insurance that you stand out, send a thank-you note to the interviewer and anyone else you spoke to during the process within 24 hours of the interview. Telling someone you appreciate them taking time out of their busy schedule to get to know you can go a long way toward you making it to the next round of interviews.