Phone Interview Tips During COVID-19

Ace those questions without leaving the house

Phone interviews can be difficult. It’s hard to know if you’re on the right track answering a question when you can’t see your interviewer’s face. But interviewers don’t have time to see everyone in person. As job board Monster.com notes, “Because they’re generally brief, phone interviews save companies time. They also serve as a more realistic screening alternative for cases in which companies are considering out-of-town, or out-of-state, or international candidates.”

And that doesn’t even take the current COVID-19 epidemic into account, when in-person interviews really aren’t possible.

Although you don’t have to wear a nice shirt or blouse to a phone interview, your voice and demeanor should be dressed to the nines. There are best practices to follow to ensure you move on to the next stage. Here are a few of our top phone interview tips.

  1. Be Prepared

Even though you’re in the comfort of your own home, a phone interview is still an interview. That means you need to prepare beforehand. Research the company online. Know a few of their recent projects and find as much information as you can about the people who will be interviewing you. Also, look up the company’s mission statement, which can show how you fit into their company culture.

  1. Find a Space (and Time)

Although it can be tempting to take the phone interview in your PJs, create a workspace beforehand. Since this is a phone interview, you’re free to spread your notes out in front of you. Just don’t try to research on the fly during the interview (that gets messy).

Before the interview, confirm when the call will take place and how long it will last. You want that time to be free of distractions like crying children, barking dogs, loud construction, etc. Also confirm whether you need to call your interviewer or if they’ll be calling you, and the names of others who will be on the call.

  1. Smile and Nod (with Feeling)

Although your interviewer can’t see whether you’re smiling or not, they can hear it. There’s a very noticeable difference in tone when you add a smile. Keeping things upbeat and energetic shows the interviewer you’re confident, positive, and most importantly, truly interested in the position.

You want your interviewer to know you’re paying attention, but of course, a simple nod of the head you’d use in a live setting doesn’t work in a phone interview. So give the occasional “yes,” or “okay” to show you’re still listening.

Speaking of listening, also avoid dominating the conversation. Keep your answers quick and concise so that your interviewer has time to cover the questions they need to ask.

  1. Ask Questions

Again, a phone interview is an interview just like any other. And a major way to stand out is to ask good questions. These are questions specific to the company you’re interviewing with, not generic queries you can easily answer online. Think something like “What does a day in the life at your company in this position look like” rather than “what’s your mission statement.” Or, to get to know your interviewer, ask, “if you hadn’t ended up working in this industry, what kind of work do you think you would have been doing?”

And that’s that! Now you’re prepared and ready to pick up the phone. For more phone interview help, check out our video with a few of Express Employment Professionals top recruiters discussing phone interviews.

Have you ever succeeded in a phone interview? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section below!

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