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3 Phone Interview Tips to Land the Big Job

Have you been invited to participate in a phone interview since the COVID-19 lockdown? If you have, there’s a chance you’re doing it wrong! As if there weren’t enough life challenges these days, fielding interview questions over the phone or interviewing on Zoom can be tough. It’s certainly a whole different ball game than the traditional, in-person situation. But while virtual interview etiquette can be a challenge to master, phone and Zoom also bring new opportunities for job seekers. Following are 3 phone interview tips to ensure you make an impression and get that job!

A hand holding a dial phone through a yellow wall.

Phone Interview Tips

#1 BE ENGAGING

When on the phone, we aren’t getting visual cues from body language like we would at an in-person meeting. WIth texting and email becoming more and more the preferred means of communication, phone conversations are becoming a bit of a lost art. It’s easy to get by with being casual and a little loose on an email or text.

Not so with a phone interview! Virtual interview etiquette is important, and so is bringing your A-game. To this end, it will serve you well to come up with a few talking points ahead of time. These can work wonders in helping you bridge awkward moments. And you know what else? You can even write them out.

While walking into an office with an interview cheat sheet is going to raise eyebrows, no one has to know when you’re on the phone or even interviewing on Zoom. This can be a huge advantage if you feel nervous. Just write your list out and set it conveniently to the side for quick reference. Your interviewer will be impressed by your quickness, interest in the company, and attentiveness to what they have to say.

#2 SELL YOURSELF

It might seem like a given, but many candidates need to give this area of interview prep a lot more love and attention. When an interviewer starts throwing you softball interview questions about your skills, you must be ready to shine! Square up to the plate and start sending reason after reason of why they need to hire you right back at them. One great way to do this is by outlining exactly how you will add value to their organization. Have several examples ready to go about how you have saved previous employers money, improved a process, given insightful analysis, created a useful report… you get it.

When you’re interviewing on Zoom or picking up a phone call from a possible employer, it’s even more important to sell yourself and your achievements. You probably won’t have the luxury of relying on any charm you might use in person. In a post on body language in interviews, Nicole Cavazos references a frequently cited study on human communication. The study concluded that 55% of human communication is body language. Of course, when we look at phone interview tips, we essentially have to throw this entire communication tool out the window and look at verbal communication alone.

Interestingly, the same study says that, of the remaining 45% of our communication that is verbal, 38% of that is tone-based. This leaves a shocking 7% for the substance of what we’re actually saying. Crazy, right? But this information can help us optimize our approach to telephone interview questions and virtual interview etiquette as a whole.

Man shouting into a dial phone with a pair of glasses on the table.

#3 DON’T ALLOW AWKWARD SILENCE

This can cut both ways. Employers might be experts at running their business on one hand, and awful at conducting interviews on the other. It’s possible they might not have many interview questions planned. They may spend most of the interview talking about the business and neglect to explain the position and how you fit into the picture. It happens! You have to be prepared to take the reins and direct the conversation back to how you can provide value to the company.

Did they bring up any “pain points” prior to the interview, possibly on the job posting? Do you believe that you can help to relieve those? Talk about that. Was anything they wrote in the posting unclear? It’s okay to ask for clarification. In fact, doing so shows that you are both observant and proactive. Be an active listener and you will find at least a few ways to direct the conversation back to how you will be a great addition to the team.

Candidates should always be prepared to keep the conversation flowing. It comes down to self-awareness and being an active participant in the interview. You want the job, right? Make sure it comes across that way! It’s so important to project high energy — especially over the phone because the other person can’t make eye contact or read your body language. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you aren’t, but your interviewer wants to feel you are engaged and not just going through the motions.

Any lull in conversation is a perfect opportunity to pick-up on a past point and drive home what makes you stand out from the other candidates. Practice your talking points before the interview, and keep the list handy if you like. Talk in front of a mirror or role-play with a friend. Follow these phone interview tips and I promise you’ll be on the right track. The extra effort won’t go unnoticed!

People Groove is also available to help you prepare for your interview with more phone interview tips and coaching. Interview prep is an important way we help candidates stand out and get more job offers. Visit our hiring page to schedule an appointment and get on our radar so we can help you land your next gig.

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