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6 Tips on How to Ace Your Phone Interview

Historically, the phone screen has been a tool that HR professionals use to quickly identify whether or not a candidate should be brought in for a full length interview. The standard phone screen would take 10 minutes max, and would be a very brief discussion of the candidate’s background. More recently, the phone “screen” has become an in depth phone “interview”. Recruiters and hiring managers are using this interview to rule candidates in or rule them out. This critical step in the recruiting process is often your first chance to really “wow” your potential employer. The phone interview should never be taken lightly and there are certain rules that you must follow in order to improve your chances of being successful. Here are a few tips to help make your phone interview a success:

1)     Dress as though you’re meeting someone in person.
While you don’t need to put your best suit and newly shined shoes on, the least you should do is get out of your pajamas and put on something professional. This will help you get in the right mindset. Don’t set your alarm to wake up 5 minutes before your interview! Get up, brush your teeth, talk to someone (yourself if you have to!) so that you can warm up your voice. People can tell when you’ve just rolled out of bed!

2)   Don’t talk and drive.
You can certainly take the call in your car, but make sure you are parked in a safe space with clear reception. Or, better yet, if you can, use a land line in a quiet room. You never want to be driving when you’re on a phone interview. The last thing you want to deal with is a distracted or dropped call. Be somewhere where you can sit and take notes, and most importantly, focus!

3)    Get on the Internet.
Have the company’s website pulled up, check out the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile, take advantage of the resources that you have access to. A quick caveat…if you are easily distracted, print off some information before your interview and turn the computer off. I’ve conducted a few interviews where I could tell the person was surfing while we were talking, and that is a major turn off. You know yourself better than anyone…stay focused but take advantage of the resources around you!

4)    Be concise, but thorough.
Usually you have between 30 and 45 minutes for a phone interview. Make sure that you are answering all questions in a succinct, detailed manner. While this can be challenging, it will help you look professional and well spoken. Practice answering some of the standard interview questions (View some questions here) in the mirror so that you are prepared. You want to make sure you allow 10 minutes or so towards the end of your interview to ask questions that are important to you, so keep a watchful eye on the clock.

5)    Smile.
I can always tell when someone is smiling when I’m conducting a phone interview. When you smile, you sound happy and it’s easier to have a conversation. In addition to smiling, make sure your voice is strong and projecting well. Be confident in your abilities and skills and you’ll have a better chance of being called in for an in person interview.

6)   Don’t forget to ask about next steps.
If you are interested in pursuing the opportunity, make sure to close the interviewer.  Ask them what the next step will be and make sure you get their email address so that you can send a thank you email.

These 6 steps can’t guarantee that you will be selected to come in for the next interview, but they will definitely increase your chances.  These days there is significantly more competition for all Indianapolis job openings.  If you need help with your job search, call us today to schedule a meeting with one of our staffing specialists!  Visit our staff page to learn more about our professional recruiters.

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