Career Woman

Infographic: 13 tips for nailing your next phone interview


Telephone interviews can be a nightmare prospect, but there’s no reason to fear them if you prepare effectively in advance.

If your strengths lie in making personal, face-to-face connections then it can be daunting to be told that you’ve ‘got the interview’, only find out it will take place over the phone. Perhaps you’ve actually grown comfortable with the idea of ‘real life’ interviews, since the ritual of getting ready and finding the venue can take your mind off your nerves. Well, those skills and methods can be transferred to the phone interview if you take time to make a phone interview plan ahead of the big day.

First off, think about the biggest advantage of phone interviews: they can’t see you! This means that not only can you do the usual level of research on the company, but you can also print it all out (on single-sided paper so you don’t need to rustle it) and keep it in front of you while you talk.

Your voice is your smile when you’re on the phone. You want it to be confident, friendly and rich. There are a number of ways you can achieve this. Begin by doing some warm-ups ahead of the call – hum a low note and change the shape of your mouth as you continue. Try it at a few different pitches. Then, when the interview is underway, make sure that you’re sitting up straight with your shoulders pulled back. A confident posture can actually improve your confidence on a hormonal level. And just because they can’t see you, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t truly smile: it has been proven that a smile can be heard in your tone of voice.

And if you’re accustomed to using the environment around you to create a connection with your interviewer – a very good idea when you have an in-person interview – there’s no reason to entirely avoid it when you’re on the phone. You can mention the weather or your view during the small talk at the start of the chat, and if a distraction should crop up (for example a barking dog or an errant child) then be honest and acknowledge it. If jokes are your thing, say something funny about it. It can help interviewers to see you as a human being and not just an abstract voice on the other end of the phone.

This guide to a phone interview provides a complete rundown of advice to follow when you’re faced with a phone interview for a big job or project. Study it well in advance of the big day, and you’ll have plenty of time to prepare and adjust your interview game for the voice-only experience.

Infographic: 13 tips for nailing your next phone interview

About Marilyn Vinchy

Marilyn Vinchy is a freelance writer and HR specialist. She works for several marketing and public relations agencies, supporting their content teams. She writes about leadership, careers and personal development, and has a knack for productivity and time management techniques. You’ll find her on Twitter here, and you can also visit her blog.

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