How to prepare for a phone interview

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Take a phone interview seriously, as it can open or close doors for the face-to-face interview. Prepare for it in advance

Some recruiters like to call out of the blue, possibly, even weeks after you sent your application. Even if you think this is not acceptable, put your opinion away, and be always ready.

  • When you see an unknown number, first of all, before answering, make sure that nobody will disturb you. If you are really busy, tell so, and let the interviewer know when he can call back. Write down his name and phone number so that you can call back yourself if you do not hear from them.
  • Have your resume ready, possibly in an easily accessible folder in your computer. Carry it with you when you leave home or office.
  • Track your applications and the corresponding job announcements. Always open the job announcement, when you get the call. Have a link to the website of the company ready.
  • Have your computer or a piece of paper ready to take notes.
  • Before answering, sit down comfortably, clear your voice, and focus only on the conversation.

Most of the times, you will agree in advance on the interview time. If the phone interview is to occur at a set time, there are additional steps you can take:

  • FInd a  quiet place without disturbances; do not accept multiple calls to your mobile.
  • Warm up your voice while waiting for the call. Do a pretend interview with yourself or with a friend.
  • Have a glass of water, and answer the nature’s call before the interview.
  • Have all the relevant documents ready.
  • Write down the questions that you would like to ask, and the answers to the potential questions that you might hear.

In all cases:

  • Speak straight to the point and avoid rambling.
  • Speak clearly, slowly, use polite sentences and correct grammar.
  • Look professional, smile, when appropriate, and behave as if someone is watching you. The interviewer will feel that.

If you need one single advice, prepare the same as you would for a face-to-face interview.

No invitations to interview yet? An example of the interview-winning cover letter is here.


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