Career Advice

4 Winning Phone Interview Tips

min read
Vera Chan

You're job searching and you finally hear back and it's a phone interview. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? On the one hand, hiring managers are looking to whittle down their pool of candidates fast. But it does mean that you have been given the chance to show yourself. This is the first step in getting your foot through the door and closer to a face-to-face interview.


So, how do you get to that next step? Here are a few tips to help you ace that phone interview.


1. Focus

Turn off all distractions. That means music, radio, tv — everything. If you have dogs, keep them outside. If you have children, keep them preoccupied. With the help of family members or a flatmate, you can request some quiet time in a separate part of the apartment. Do not go to a cafe, as you cannot control the environment outside of your living quarters.


Don't try to get away with it. The interviewer will be able to tell if you sound distracted. You also don't want to keep asking them to repeat their questions. That doesn't mean that you can never ask that if you so happened to miss a part of a sentence due to poor connectivity. If you also need clarification for a question, it is also ok to ask for that. But there is a difference between asking for that and multiple repetitions.



2. Listen Then Talk


This might seem like a no-brainer, but it is so easy to forget. During your excitement, you might feel a bit of haste in responding. But take your time. Leave one to two seconds after the interviewer finishes their sentence or question. This pause will avoid overlapping before responding. It will also sound like you contemplated on your response beforehand, which is a good quality to have.


A good way to show that you are also listening is towards the end where you can ask more questions. If you take notes along the way and repeat them back with a question, this shows attention.


Don't forget to keep your resume handy, so that it is readily available to answer any questions they may have.


3. Take Your Time

As enthusiastic you may be about this role, now is a good time to slow down. Take a deep breath before you pick up the phone and don't forget to breathe throughout. This will naturally calm your nerves and will help ensure that you take the time to think. think about what? About what you will say next. Whether it be a question or comment, think before you speak. It also means that talking slowly — but not too slowly — pronounces your words more clearly.


4. Promote Yourself

If you have an online portfolio or a personal website, direct the hiring manager there. Your work and experiences will speak for themselves. It also shows them that you have initiative. It is a powerful tool to impress employers, not to mention a great way to increase your invisibility. Your personality will naturally shine through and this is a great plus for standing out.


The Bottom Line

The phone interview may just be one out of several to show yourself as an individual. The hiring manager may be trying to eliminate you as a candidate during a phone interview. But it is a good way to give them a reason NOT to cross your name off the list.


You may have to work harder over a phone interview, especially if you are across time zones. But in the end, if you are able to be articulate and likable, you are on the track to being the perfect candidate.


Got a video interview instead? Here's what to do.


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