Can You Hear Me Now: The Ultimate Guide to Acing a Phone Interview

2016-06-29 22.41.59Phone interviews suck.  They are annoying and sometimes inconvenient.  Yes, I said it and I know you were thinking it.  Phone interviews rob you of the benefit of seeing the interviewer's facial expressions and body language and you don't have the luxury of charming them with your amazing smile and unforgettable eye contact.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, we have to move past it.  No matter how much you or I don't like them, phone interviews are here to stay and have actually increased in frequency during the job search process in recent years.

There was a time when the phone interview was reserved for the quick 15-20 minute phone screen that recruiters held at the beginning stage of a job search or when candidates lived out of state or the country and it was inconvenient and/or too expensive to have an in person interview.  This, however, is no longer the case.

With recruiters and hiring managers getting an average of over 200 applicants for each available role, they often have way more qualified candidates than time and try to weed out those who aren't a good fit for the company via a first round phone interview.

Because of this, even the most attractive of candidates on paper are finding themselves knocked out of the running in the very early stages of the interview process.

Before we get into the ways to make sure you are not one of these candidates, it's important to look at some of the red flags hiring managers are  looking out for.

  • Low energy

  • Unfriendly demeanor

  • Distracted

  • Unprofessional

  • Bad Communication Skills

  • Insanity (unfortunately, this is not a joke)

Keeping these red flags in mind, here are 5 ways to make sure you sail through your next phone interview with ease so that you can make it to the second round.

Start Strong. You'd be surprised by the number of otherwise great candidates who remove themselves from consideration during the first 5 seconds of the interview simply by being unprepared and unprofessional in their greeting.  Since you had to pre-schedule, it's highly unlikely you will be caught by surprise. You should be prepared, alert and friendly from the moment you answer your phone.

Take advantage of not being seen.  Since the recruiter can't see you,  you should have your notes, the company website, the job description, your resume and any other relevant document in front of you during your interview.  It's like taking an open book exam.  You have all the answers at your disposal.

Stand during the entire conversation.  Standing while speaking allows your voice to sound more clear and also makes you feel confident and like you have more energy. This is public speaking 101.  Although you aren't speaking to a crowd of 100 people, you do have a captivated audience of 1 on the other end of the phone and you should be doing everything in your power to keep this person engaged.

Smile when you speak.  Similar to standing, smiling does wonders for your voice while on the phone.  To the person on the other end, you will sound very warm and approachable.  Remember, you will not be able to convey emotion with your facial expressions, so it's extremely important that you make your emotions come through your voice.

Control your environment. Again, the interview was pre-planned, so before the call begins you should have found a quiet and isolated area for you to have the conversation.  Most likely you will need 30-45 minutes of uninterrupted time.  Nothing is more distracting to an interviewer than hearing loud noises, chatter, or music in the background.

Phone interviews are no longer an exception in the interview process, more often than not, they are the rule.  Follow these tips and you will be on your way to the second round interview in no time.

What other tips can you think of to crush the phone interview?