An initial or screening interview may be conducted by phone instead of face to face. From the employer’s perspective, it can be a good way to hear:
- How a job candidate sounds over the phone and if the person communicates effectively
- If he or she seems friendly and enthusiastic
- If the job seeker knows about the company and has the required skills
- If it appears that the candidate would work well with the other employees
- If an in-person interview is appropriate and worth their time
Because of the large number of job candidates, phone interviews may be conducted by recruiters hired by a company or Human Resource professionals within the business. Candidates who have the skills and have made a positive impression might then be referred on to hiring managers for the next interview.
Therefore, the phone interview is extremely important as it can determine if a job candidate moves forward for further consideration.
Preparation for the phone interview should require the same planning as done for a face-to-face interview. This means researching the company and devoting time to practice answering interview questions.
A phone interview may be as short as 15 minutes. Job seekers can impress the interviewer by following the following suggestions:
- Be prepared. Have notes, resume, questions, and achievements available for quick referral. When examples of skills or accomplishments are requested, having bullet points for quick reference will be helpful.
- Have paper and pen to take notes and write down relevant questions that come up during the interview so that they can be asked when the opportunity arises.
- If possible, use a landline telephone - cell phones can have static or service can be interrupted.
- Project a smile by physically smiling. The interviewer cannot see the candidate and therefore the tone of voice becomes even more important.
- Consider standing up while talking and use good posture, which will help combat nerves.
- Do not use familiarity by addressing the interviewer by his/her first name without being invited to do so. Address the person as Mr., Ms., or Dr. It is important to be friendly but convey professional respect as well.
- Avoid eating or chewing gum. However, having water is acceptable provided the candidate makes no sound when sipping.
- Insure the area where the conversation is held is quiet so there are no distractions or interruptions.
- Be concise and answer each question without rambling.
- Speak in a modulated, paced tone of voice, avoiding speaking too quickly. Enunciate words clearly to allow the interviewer to understand your responses and questions.
- Even if the interviewer calls at an unscheduled time while in the car, explain the circumstance and ask to return the call after arriving at a destination or pulling over. This will demonstrate sound judgment for the interviewer and let them know that rules and procedures are important.
- Thank the interviewer and then ask about the next step in the process as well as requesting a phone number or e-mail address of the interviewer.
- Send a thank you note immediately (no later than 24 hours).