Many companies use phone interviews as an initial employment screening technique. At some point in your job search, you’ll be asked to participate in a 20 to 30-minute phone interview with either one person or several people on the other end of the line. A phone interview is a pre-scheduled interview that is hosted by a recruiter, answered by a candidate who applie d for the job, which takes place over the telephone. Telephone interviews are often very straightforward with the main focus to screen out unsuitable candidates before the face-to-face interview stage. Often, recruiters are looking for candidates with a competitive background who are able to act confident and polite during a telephone conversation.

As a job seeker, your goal during a phone interview is to secure an invitation to an in-person interview. Your voice and your preparation are your most powerful weapon while on the phone. Now, let’s take a look at some useful tips to help you ace your phone interview!

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Do Your Research

Normally, you will receive an email with the date and time of the phone interview as well as the interviewer’s information prior to the call. Thoroughly research the company and the interviewer, just as if you were preparing to meet in person.

Familiarize yourself with the company’s key products or services, strategies and markets, as well as their values and visions. One of the nice things about a phone interview is that you have access to your device and the internet. Draw down some key points you learned about the company and get it ready when the interviewer calls.

Create A Quiet and Comfortable Environment

Some of you might find phone interviews more stressful than face-to-face situations. So do everything you can to make yourself at ease. Stay in a comfortable environment that soothes your nerves, filter out distractions (i.e. your children or your pets) and eliminate background noise (i.e. your door bell or your computer).

Get ready 10 minutes early, so you don’t sound surprised. If you plan to use a landline, mute your cell phone; if you plan to use your cell phone, make sure it is fully charged. Most importantly, make sure you are in an area with good cell phone reception where it’s quiet enough to hear and respond with your full attention.

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Stand Up and Smile

Some of you might find this one funny. “I’m on the phone, why do I need to stand up or smile or even wear a shirt?” The truth is, even if the person on the other side can not see you, your behavior sends a subconscious signal through your voice.

Standing up kicks your energy level up a notch. It makes you feel more active and help you think and react faster. When you smile, it affects the tone of your voice and can make a more favorable impression. Also, some people also find it useful to dress nicely, to put yourself in a professional state of mind.

Prepare Answers to Some Common Questions

Simple “yes” and “no” answer will not do you any good during a telephone interview. In order to sound smart and prepared, start by practicing your answers to some common interview questions. Questions like “tell me about yourself” and “why did you apply for this job” are a must-ask for both phone and face-to-face interviews.

Paint visual pictures with your words by telling stories that demonstrate results you achieved or contributed to. Support your answers with examples. The more you prepare before the interview, the less you will ramble and stutter when the interviewer calls.

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Have Your Cheat-Sheet Ready

The biggest advantage of a phone interview is that you can’t be seen, which means that you can use plenty of notes to aid your answer. Prepare your notes to include information about the company and the interviewer, skills and experiences you wish to highlight, key points you want to emphasize, and questions you want to ask.

Make sure you lay your information in a logical fashion and leave it at a place where you can easily access. Place your notes in a way that people won’t hear shuffling through papers when you search through your notes. A good trick is to stick your papers on the wall at your eye level.

Listen and Don’t Dominate The Conversation

The interviewer is the one who set the tone of the conversation and lead the interview forward. He or she will talk about expectations, details about the role, what it takes to be successful in this company and what the major challenges will be. Take notes so you are able to respond to all these points when it is your turn to talk.

The phone interview is an opportunity to show both your candidacy and your communication skills, especially your listening skills. Respond to questions, but don’t dominate the conversation and turn the conversion into your one-man show. This call is as much about you getting to know them as it is about them getting to know you.

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