Some companies perform phone interviews to determine how good of a fit a job candidate is, before meeting with them in person. Other times, it’s the only way to interview a person who lives in a distant location. Regardless of the situation, you want to approach a phone screening a little differently than you would a face-to-face interview. Here are some tips for success.

Practice Your Tone

The language and tone you use will tell a recruiter a lot about you, so you want to work on practicing your tone prior to the screening. First off, you should speak clearly and concisely so that the interviewer can understand what you’re saying. Stay away from slang and jargon so that you appear professional. Also, try not to speak too fast to avoid jumbling your words. Speaking too fast can also be seen as sign of nervousness, which can make you look unconfident in the eyes of a recruiter.

Prepare for “Offbeat Questions”

You never know exactly what questions are going to be thrown at you, so it’s important to be prepared for whatever comes your way. This starts with performing some research on the company and the job description. It’s also smart to learn more about the overall industry your potential employer is in. You may even want to look at this list of the top 10 phone interview questions recruiters ask to prepare your response.

Eliminate Background Noise

One of the quickest ways to annoy an interviewer – and ruin your chances – is having too much background noise. Whether it’s the radio or barking dogs, you need to do whatever it takes to ensure that you’re in a quiet environment when having your interview. You should also make sure that there’s no phone static on your end, and you have a clear connection.

Gather Important Materials 

Ideally, you’ll have your own version of a cheat sheet at your disposal during the interview. This could include the following materials:

  • Your resume
  • Your cover letter
  • The company’s website on your computer screen
  • The job description

This will make it easy to quickly reference important information throughout the screening and should make you look more professional.

Refrain From Asking “Selfish Questions”

The last thing you want to do is ask questions like, “How much is my salary?” or “What benefits will I receive?” This isn’t the time or place because you don’t have any real leverage at the moment. And in many cases, this can turn off recruiters and hurt your chances. That’s why it’s best to wait until you’ve actually landed the job before getting into these questions.

Knowing the right way to approach a phone screening should help you be more prepared, and you’ll be more likely to impress your interviewer. By following these tips, you can hopefully take it to the next level and land your next job. To learn more about interview skills and how to find the right position, please visit our blog.


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