Got a phone interview? Congratulations! Your resume is amazing, your application was flawless, you’ve caught a potential employer’s attention and now they want to get to know you better! In todays’ fast-paced digital world, many preliminary interviews are held through a wide variety of mediums including on the phone. While you are job searching, it’s important to be prepared for a phone interview on a moment’s notice. Many companies start the interview process with a phone call to determine if the candidate is a good fit for the position, and to briefly get a sense of the candidate’s personality.

In most cases, your interview will be scheduled in advance by email or phone. In some cases, you may also receive a surprise call without any warning. Even though you don’t need to meet with the interviewers face to face, the results of this call will determine whether you’re invited to meet with company representatives in person.

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Before It Comes, Do Your Research.

If the interview is scheduled in advance, find out as much as you can about the company and the position before the call, just as what you would do for an in-person interview. Before the call, you should re-read the job posting, and make notes of how your skills and qualifications reflect the requirements of this position. Also, don’t forget to review the company’s website and social media pages (if any) to see what they do, what their values are, and the latest news they have posted.

In addition, check websites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and PayScale to see some past interview questions asked by this company, the reviews written by employees, as well as the salary ranges. Based on your research, prepare questions to ask if the opportunity arises. The knowledge you gain from research will demonstrate your determination to work for this employer.

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Take Advantage of The Invisibility Factor

Phone interviews are a lot like open-book tests – you can have all the information you need right in front of you. To take advantage of the fact that the interviewer can’t see you, open up the company’s website in your browser and have another search window open for any unexpected questions. You can also prepare some customized answers for commonly asked interview questions in advance. Make sure to never let the interviewer hear you typing.

Also, if you prepared some paper based cheat-sheet, or you need your résumé and the job description on site for easy reference, tape a copy of your résumé or the job posting to the wall at eye level to avoid any papers-rustling noise in the background.

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Answer The Call at a Suitable Location

Make sure you are in an area with good cellphone reception. Ideally, use a landline to sidestep outside noises or choppy cell signals. If you’re using a cellphone, mute your phone and disable extra phone features. You don’t want an app alert or a message buzz to interrupt your conversation. These noises can be distracting and embarrassing, while sabotaging your chances of moving the interview process forward.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to schedule the call for a time when you can focus completely. It’s important to make the call in an environment with minimal noise and where you can speak at a reasonable volume. If you can’t be home at the time, stay in a quiet place where you are comfortable and unlikely to be interrupted. Find a place where it’s quiet enough to hear and calm enough to give the interview your full attention. Remember, the more control you have over the space you’re calling from, the less distractions and unanticipated events will appear.

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Stay On Top of Your Courtesies

When answering a phone interview, pick up the call by stating your name. Simply saying “Hello, Simpson speaking” appears more professional than just a “hello”.  Although your interviewer can’t see you, try to act friendly and keep a smile on your face. Your voice will sound more cheerful and engaged when you do this.

The only the power you have over the phone is your voice – speak clearly, express logically, and use positive language. Try to take cues from the interviewer, and moderate your tone and word choice to make a positive impression. If the interviewer didn’t mention the next step when the call comes to an end, bravely express your enthusiasm for moving forward and ask about the next step. Finally, don’t forget to thank them for the opportunity and write a thank-you email as soon as possible after the interview.

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