Five tips to ace phone interviews

Candidate having a phone interview

The first step in the recruitment process, phone interviews, or phone screens, are used by hiring managers and recruiters to evaluate which candidates will be invited for face-to-face interviews. For remote positions or out-of-town candidates, a phone interview may also be the only option available.

Acing this first phase is essential to create a great connection with your interviewer and make sure you proceed to the next stage of the interview process. Follow our top five tips to master your next phone interview.

1. Remove distractions

Nothing derails your train of thought like co-workers listening in on your private calls or baristas yelling out orders in a coffee shop, so it’s crucial to be in a distraction-free environment. Hopefully, you'll be able to schedule the call for a time when you are alone and can focus completely. If you aren’t able to schedule the call, try and put yourself in a quiet and private room where you are comfortable and unlikely to be interrupted (or overheard, if you are not at home). Taking notes during the conversation can also help you stay focused.

2. Prepare your story

Have a copy of your CV in front of you. Make sure you are able to explain your career path with exact dates and references without hesitation. Arm yourself with a few prepared scenarios that illustrate projects you’ve worked on, initiatives you’ve led or problems you’ve solved.

While no two job interviews are identical, there are certain questions that as a job seeker you will likely encounter. Rehearse your answers to some common interview questions so you can deliver your responses with ease and confidence.

3. Be positive

Interviewers will be judging your communication skills. Your goal is to exude motivation and capability. They will be looking for your ability to connect interpersonally and judging how well you will work in a team. Demonstrate your can-do, get-things-done attitude. You definitely don’t want a potential new employer to sense any negativity or frustration you may feel toward your current employer or position. Focus on the opportunities and successes you have had. Be upbeat and don’t be afraid to highlight specific personal accomplishments.

4. Observe your body language

Even though you aren’t visible to the interviewer, body language and demeanour are easily detected over the phone. Smile while you are talking! It will help you sound more energised and positive and will be "heard" by the interviewer making for a positive impression.

5. Be interested and engaged

Asking your interviewer questions about the role and organisation is crucial to show that you are motivated and interested. Frame these questions around the research you have already done on the role and the organization. Don’t let nerves be mistaken for disinterest. Listen carefully to your interviewer and don't start speaking until they have finished speaking. If you have something you want to say, write it down and mention it once it is your turn to talk. Remember to express your enthusiasm for moving forward and make sure to ask about the next step before the call ends. Follow up with a brief thank you email.

Need to prepare for a face-to-face interview next?

Find out our 3 top tricks to best prepare for a job interview

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