Phone Interviews

10 Steps to Acing a Phone Interview

For many veterans interviewing for careers in the civilian sector, the transition involves phone interviews in addition to face-to-face. This type of interview presents special challenges in that you cannot read body language and it can be more difficult to make a connection with your interviewer(s).

Often, phone interviews are used for initial screening of candidates, but in a very global job market, they are also increasingly being used to save time and money by interviewing candidates where they are as opposed to flying them out for a first interview. Below are some tips on how to prepare for and ace your phone interview:

  1. Make sure you will be using a high-quality phone! The last thing you need is for the call to drop or for the interviewer to hear every other word. Often times, a land line may be the best bet, due to its lack of reception issues.
  2. Turn off call-waiting. Hearing that beep in the middle of a sentence can throw you off-track and sounds like a sudden silence to those on the other end.
  3. Schedule the call for a time when you can be alone in the quiet. While this one is obvious, it bears mentioning. If you are not the one to schedule the call, try to find someone who can help you establish a quiet environment while you're on the call.
  4. Dress like you would for a face-to-face interview. Even though your interviewer(s) won't see you, you'll portray confidence if you've dressed for the part. Interviewing in pajamas may sound comfortable but that laid-back apparel could translate into a blasé attitude.
  5. Have a glass of water. This will help if you get nervous and your mouth dries up or you keep clearing your throat.
  6. Create a crib sheet. The benefit of a phone interview is that the interviewer(s) can't see your notes, so create a list of questions and insights. Just be careful not to sound as if you're reading it.
  7. Have your resume in front of you. This will help you easily refer to your specific skills and direct your interviewers to certain information.
  8. Smile! It will translate in your voice.
  9. Ask for the job. Just as you would in a face-to-face interview, close the interview by reaffirming your interest in the job and asking what the next steps are.
  10. Say thank you! Once you've confirmed next steps, thank the interviewers for their time and consideration, both verbally and then in writing.

Phone interviews may present unique challenges, but with the right preparation, they can be an excellent step on your way to being employed!

Continue to the next topic: Interview Play-by-Play

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