How to Ace a Phone Interview

You haven't been to company headquarters yet, it's just a first step, but how do you impress enough over the phone to get a face-to-face interview?

More and more companies are using phone interviews before bringing job candidates in and you have to be memorable - not just with what you say, but how you say it.

Those "ums" and "likes" you use in regular conversation could count against you like minutes ticking away in a parking meter.

Treat the Phone Interview Seriously

"Treat the interview seriously. If they are calling you for a phone interview, it's because you meet the minimum requirements. Treat the phone interview as if it were a face-to-face interview," advises Victoria Snabon-Heath, career services director of The Art Institute of Tampa.

In addition to preparing mentally, she suggests, it might be helpful to "get dressed in a suit, even though no one will see you. It will help set your mood."

Do whatever it takes, Snabon-Heath suggests, because "you are being screened in or out during this conversation."

"Phone interviews are becoming much more commonplace," says Felicia Miller, senior career advisor and job development coordinator for The Art Institute of Las Vegas.

The job market is highly competitive, and many companies that are looking for qualified job candidates have to go out-of-state. But before they spend the resources needed to bring you in for a face-to-face, they want to make sure you're worth the time and effort, says Miller.

Tips for Acing the Phone Interview

With that in mind, Miller offers the following tips for helping to ace the phone interview, and get to the face-to-face interview:

Be prepared

Before the interview, review any available online information for the company and the trends in the industry. Make sure to read any recent press releases so that you can show off your knowledge during the interview while praising the company.

If you responded to a particular job posting, have a copy of that printed out for the interview, along with some notes of how your skills and experience match those requirements

Be ready to take notes during the interview, and have your calendar ready to check your availability for the next step in the hiring process.

If you are supposed to call the employer, be prompt, but don't call more than five minutes or so ahead of schedule The employer may have other things to do before your call.

If the job is located outside your area, be prepared to discuss why you are willing to relocate to the new area

Perhaps the new city is closer to your family, or a safer community, or closer to the beach. This lets the employer know that this is a viable opportunity for you.

Without the advantage of facial expressions, it's hard to gauge whether or not you've answered a question to the employer's satisfaction

If you are unsure of the question, ask for clarification.

If your answer is met with silence, you may want to see if the interviewer understood you by asking a clarification question such as, "Did I answer your question?"

Avoid discussing compensation if possible

A phone interview is usually an initial step in the hiring process, and you probably do not have enough information to estimate your worth in the new position. If the interviewer brings up the topic, it's permissible to say, "I'm looking for the industry standard," or "I'd like to learn more about the opportunity before I discuss that."

Thank the employer for taking time out of their day to speak with you

Let them know that they may call you anytime if they have other questions. Make sure your outgoing voicemail message is professional in case they miss you.

"It may seem obvious, but make sure the contact number you provide is not your 1980s static cordless phone your Grandmother gave you, or if you give you cellular number, make sure it's charged the night before." Says Snabon-Heath,








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