8 Tips to ace a phone interview!

Attending an interview is probably the most nerve-wrecking part of any job application. But with the increase in candidates applying, and the current COVID-19 situation, sometimes you find yourself having to give phone interviews way before you can even meet the people face to face ?

PS: Don’t forget to scroll right to the end to view 2 other videos that may help you – “How to create an amazing CV that gets you noticed” and “How to make sure your LinkedIn gets you noticed!”

In a face-to-face interview, there’s more for the interviewer to judge you on – body language, friendliness, general appearance, and more. But what makes a phone interview crucial is that you’re almost entirely being judged by just your content from your voice (i.e. tonality, and pace). Here are some of our top tips to ace your audio-only interview:

1. Treat it like an in-person interview

Though you’re not going to see anyone, treating it like a real interview will put you in a professional mindset ??‍? ??‍? ??‍? This means waking up early, brushing your teeth, having a cup of coffee/tea to warm your vocal cords and changing into professional clothes. If you’re going to hop on to the call directly from bed, slouching in your PJs, and your voice all groggy from just having woken up – the interviewer will know ? Remember it will roughly take you ATLEAST 30 minutes once you wake up, to sound like your normal self.

2. Find a quiet room

No babies crying, no dogs barking, no TV shows playing, no radio blasting, no kids screaming – this one is a no brainer. If you live with others, make sure they’re aware of your interview timings, and know not to disturb you or make loud noises ? Pick a quiet spot and close the door. If you have kids, maybe put a sign-board outside your door saying DON’T COME IN BETWEEN xxAM – xxPM. Also, make sure your phone/laptop is set on silent! You don’t want the notification sounds of your WhatsApp constantly ringing through the interview. A silent environment not only helps you focus and your answers come out clearly, but it also shows professional courtesy and lets the interviewer know that you’re taking it seriously.

3. Preparation is key

This goes without saying, but the more prepared you are, the more confident you sound. Charge your phone, research the company, note down any questions you may have, read through the job description carefully, Google common interview questions, have an idea of your expected salary range, find out the name of the interviewer if possible ? I often have a hard time remembering names, so it’s best to note down the name somewhere in front of you and sprinkle it throughout the conversation. Make sure you have a copy of your CV with you and a pen & paper/laptop to take down notes. Even keeping a glass of water near you goes a long way. Your throat can dry up quickly during phone interviews, especially if you’re stressed. Taking a few quick sips will clear that right up! ?

Prepping for an interview avoids the umms, erms, but, and, uh, like, so, etc. Remember, they’re ONLY HEARING YOU!

4. Answer your phone, the right way

This includes being there on time, saying good morning/evening, introducing yourself, smiling throughout (they can hear it!) and asking for their names if you don’t know it already. As the saying goes, first impression is the best impression. If you start off well, you’ll be more confident and comfortable for the remainder of the interview ?

Quick Tip: Before you pick the phone to call, or pick a call, always do EHEM EHEM (i.e. clear your throat). At times our saliva, or mucus if any deposits in our throat, and the first word (aka hello, or hi) sounds croaky ?

5. Speak clearly

Don’t jump to answers as soon as you are asked a question. Taking a few seconds to think and articulate your words can help you speak more clearly, with less backtracking, umms and buts ? Using earphones or Airpods also help you sound clearer to the interviewer, and cancels the background noise FOR YOU!

Google some most commonly asked questions, so you don’t stumble upon those when they’re asked. Some of the most common questions asked that keep people umm’ing are;

  • Why do you want to leave your current job?
  • Why do you have a huge gap in your CV (if there is any)?
  • Why do you want to join our organization, and why do you think you are fit for it?
  • How do you explain to your peers who’re confidently wrong, that you’re right?
  • Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
  • What is your dream job?
  • How do you deal with a difficult client?
  • What are our company’s core values?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • What’s your weakness?

6. Don’t interrupt

Again, this might seem elementary, but allowing your interviewer to speak is extremely important in a phone interview. It also shows them that you’re a good listener ? On the other hand, if the interviewer interrupts you while speaking, stop immediately and listen.

7. End politely

At the end of the interview, make it a point to ask the interviewer if they have any questions for you. It shows interest and engagement on your part, and that you’re not afraid to tackle any challenges, since an unconfident person might just try to end the interview ASAP! ?

Most of the interviews I’ve seen or given thus far, I’ve always ended up asking a ton of questions at the end. It kinda shows the recruiter or the manager, you’re on top of your game, and you know what you want too.

8. Send them a thank you email

After you’re done with the interview, sending a quick email thanking them for taking the time to talk to you, and mentioning that you’re looking forward to their response, goes a long way. It shows them that you’re putting in additional effort even after the call and that you’re truly interested in the position ?

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Written and Researched by Naomi D’Souza and Zeba Bashir

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