Subject: How to Nail a Phone Interview
So you’re sitting in class/on the bus/on your couch and you get an email from a company that you’ve applied to. They want to schedule an interview with you as soon as possible. (YES!) As you rack your brain and planner for a day that you can make the trip into their office, you realize that you may be busier than you thought. Thus, the phone interview comes into play.
Phone interviews are bittersweet; you may be less nervous because you don’t have to get out of your fave work trousers for the interview, but at the same time you’ll be missing that important face-to-face aspect of being in-person. In order to make up for that missing value, here are 5 tips to help you nail that over the phone interview.
Do your research
- Research the company; what do they do? What is their mission statement? What about the company makes you want to work there? Research the position; what are the requirements? What about the role drew you to apply? What duties of the role do you think you’ll be good at, and what experiences do you have that will help you excel?
- My current supervisor at Brooks Brothers (my Spring internship) recently told me with how important it is to warm-up your voice and your mouth before an important speaking event. Since all you have during a phone interview is your voice, it’s important to make sure that you are speaking clearly and slowly with proper inflection. I’ll be the first to admit that in some interviews, I’ve been so nervous I’ve tripped over my words or have combined phrases to become illegible. Five minutes before your chat, warm-up with “Sally sells seashells by the seashore,” or “The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue, the tip of the tongue, the teeth, the lips.”
Set the Scene
- I am definitely a person who finds it extremely difficult to stay focused on one thing for any length of time and I’m sure I’m not the only one with that problem. With that being said, it’s important to set the scene when getting ready for an interview. Choose a spot – whether it is at home, in the office or on a bench somewhere – where you can focus on the voice at the other end of the line and think clearly. It would help to choose a place that’s quiet where there aren’t multiple things trying to grab your attention.
- Having your resume, cover letter and the job description in front of you during the interview can be a major help. This way you can see what the recruiter is referring to and it will be easier to answer questions and make connections to your experiences. Grab a pen too – you might think of questions or comments while he/she on the other end is talking that you don’t want to forget. Speaking of questions, have end-of-interview Q’s ready to fire BEFORE you go into the interview. Yes, you might think of some during, but if it comes to the end and you don’t have anything to ask, you’ll most likely seem uninterested and/or ill-prepared for the job. My go-to is always “What do you think my biggest challenge will be in this role?” or “Why do you like working for this company?”
- Even if you are peeing your pants out of nerves, ACT CONFIDENT. I was recently in a phone interview for a position that I knew I wasn’t qualified for, but I really liked the company and wanted to get my foot in - in any department - even if I didn’t have any experience for it. Although I knew this, I still tried my best to sound confident and put together, hoping that my self-assured attitude would help the recruiter look past my lack of relevant experience. I didn’t get the internship (big surprise) but I was proud of the way I conveyed myself and I knew that if I continue to present myself this way, I’m bound to be hired (fingers crossed).
I really hope these tips help you nail your next phone interview! I actually have two coming up this week, and I’m super excited to act like my confident self and get hired…and if not, well, then onto the next one!
Until next time,