Phone interview? Here’s how to prepare

When it comes to an in-person interview, there are clear guidelines on how to dress, how to shake hands, how to respond to questions. A lot of what is communicated in an in-person interview is non-verbal. The visual accompanies the oral, allowing the candidate and the potential employer to get full images of each other.  A phone interview, on the other hand, is all verbal. What’s the best way to prepare? What matters the most?

Dress the part:

You might consider dressing for the interview if you feel it would put you in the best frame of mind. Now, this may sound counterintuitive, but think about the difference in the way you feel and act when in your pajamas versus when you are in a suit. Dressing for the phone interview in the way you would for an in-person interview or for a day at work puts you in a professional frame of mind so that you do not treat the phone interview as you would a casual conversation with a friend.


Choose the right setting:

You don’t want to conduct your phone interview in the middle of a bustling street or in a bar where the Top 40 hits or sports will be blaring in the background. You want a quiet environment that will allow you to focus and enable you to hear the interviewer and vice versa. You also need a place where you can take notes or work out technical questions.  If you’re fitting a phone interview into your workday, you don’t want to have the interview in your office, not unless you want to risk being walked in on and having to explain why you’re selling yourself to a competitor. That could be awkward.


Avoid sarcasm/inappropriate humor:

This is the very first stage of interviewing with a company. Be as formal and polite as possible while remaining personable. Sarcasm and dry one-liners may not come across as you intend over the phone. You may want to save those until you’re a member of the team and in a position to let more facets of your personality shine.


Know your story:

Since the phone interview is largely about both employer and candidate feeling each other out, it’s important that you know your story. Know how to describe, in a concise and engaging manner the different stages of your career, what excites you about the industry, and most importantly, how all of that makes you a good fit for the company/ position. Show your intellectual and professional growth and use your background as a segue into what makes that company the right next step for you.


Know the company:

Do your research! In order to use your story to exemplify why the company is the right fit for you, you need to know the company. Know its history, know its culture, and figure out how you would fit in.  Also do research on the interviewer. You’re your similarities and use them to build rapport. Show enthusiasm for the work the company is doing and express your interest in future meetings. Every company wants engaged employees. Show that you’re that person.

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