You did it. The manager of the company you applied to loved your resume and now wants to talk to you, but it is a phone interview. The kind of interview that says, “You sound interesting, but... let’s talk on the phone first to make sure you're not weird.” Phone interviews can be more stressful than in person interviews. It’s impossible to see how the interviewer reacts to what you say. Do they seem amused? Are you on the right track? Are you killing it or bombing it? Here are the top 4 tips to help improve your skills.
1. Practice. Practice. Practice
Practice makes perfect right? Wrong. Perfect practice makes perfect. But how do you practice for phone interviews? Like regular interviews, you want to be able convey your experience and how well you work in your field. BUT you need to be able to paint a picture with your enthusiasm without being seen. Do a mock interview in front of a wall or mirror and record yourself talking. Close your eyes and listen to what you said. Can you picture yourself enthused and wanting to be part of the company you applied to? Would you ask you to come in for an in-person interview after hearing what you had to say?
2. Leave all distractions outside the door
Make sure you are in a quiet place where you won’t be easily distracted. Phone interviews are tricky because you are most likely in your room or coffee shop where the littlest things can drag your attention away from your call. My secret is to be in a dimly lit room, sitting at a small table, where the only thing in sight are my tools for success. (Setup a frame picture of your dog to focus on, or something like that, a silly picture usually works.)
3. Be prepared
By failing to prepare, you prepare to fail. As cliché as it sounds, it’s true. The great thing about phone interviews is that you don’t have to worry about your appearance; only what you have to bring to the table. This is great because you can have all your key talking points about your qualifications right in front of you, as well as a list of questions for the interviewer. Make sure your talking points directly impact the position you are applying for. Ask yourself, how does this story benefit me and show my skills?
4. Charge up
Your phone and laptop should not be the only things charging before your phone interview - YOU should be charged too. When going to bed the night before a phone interview, do not scroll through Twitter, Instagram, or whatever ritual you go through before falling asleep - drink a cup of Chamomile tea and drift away. Make sure you wake up at a reasonable time and eat a great breakfast. My personal favorite pre-phone interview breakfast is a slice of toast with peanut butter and a glass of orange juice. DO NOT eat too much, nothing is worse than going through a phone interview when you are feeling drowsy and bloated.
By now, your phone, laptop, and YOU should be charged to 100% and ready for anything that comes your way during the phone interview. It’s okay to feel nervous. Take that energy and translate into a great job opportunity. All you need to do is remember your training, drink your orange juice, and you will be guaranteed a call back.
About the Author: Sarkis Dovlatyan is a graduate from Temple University with a degree in marketing. At Temple, he was part of many organizations like the Temple Wrestling team and the Armenian Student Association. During his free time, Sarkis enjoys going on runs, playing vintage video games, and pizza.