Employers use telephone interviews as a way of identifying and recruiting candidates for employment. Phone interviews are often used to screen candidates in order to narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for in-person interviews. They are also used as way to interview out-of-town candidates.
While you're actively job searching, it is important to be prepared for a phone interview on very short notice.
Prepare for a phone interview just as you would for a regular interview. Compile a list of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as a list of answers to typical phone interview questions. In addition, plan on being prepared for a phone conversation about your background and skills.
- Keep in clear view your resume, cover letter, and copy of the application, if you submitted one, so they are within reach when you need to answer questions.
- Have a short list of your accomplishments available to review.
- Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.
- Turn call-waiting off so your call isn't interrupted.
- If the time isn't convenient, ask if you could talk at another time and suggest some alternatives.
- Clear the room – do not have kids or pets around. Turn off the stereo and the TV and close the door.
- Use a landline rather than your cell phone to avoid a dropped call or static on the line.
- Do not hang up until the interviewer has hung up.
- Remember to say "thank you."
During the Phone Interview:
- Don't smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink.
- Keep a glass of water handy.
- Smile. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice.
- Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
*A Note on Practice Interviewing
Talking on the phone during an interview isn't as easy as it seems; it’s helpful to practice. Have a friend, family member or your employment counsellor conduct a mock interview and tape record it so you can see how you sound over the phone. You'll be able to hear your "ums" and "uhs" and "okays" and you can practice reducing them from your conversational speech.