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How To Ace Phone Interviews: 9 Great Steps And Strategies

Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

Phone interviews are an increasingly common means of potential employers gauging the employability of some of their applicants. This means that messing them up can be a costly error to make, especially in this ever growing technological age.

With nowhere near the amount of help and guidance around as there is for face to face interviews, this article has been made up in collaboration with several leading experts to help you make the most of your time on the phone.

#1 Tell A Great Story

The phone interview is a gateway. The interviewer wants to know if you are someone they want to know. How do you get them to want to know you? Tell them a great story. The best story you can tell them is a story that sheds light on a certain aspect of growth in your career. If you can include a story about how you achieved results for someone, including yourself, then even better. A great story is relatable. It begins with a want and ends with a lesson, if you have time. Often, it's enough that there's room in a story for the audience to interpret the lesson. Stories of missteps can be great, because you can include how you came through, fixed a problem, made amends, dusted yourself after failure.

Contributor: Amanda Page from amanda-page.com

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#2 Treat It As The Real Thing

Treat this phone interview like a real interview. Be on time, do your research on the company, the position and the company. So many people treat a phone interview as just a screening call and keeping it casual can cost the opportunity.

Contributor: Noelle Johnson, Owner of My Interview Buddy

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#3 Ask Questions

Ask questions beyond what's the next steps. Ask thoughtful questions about the position, the company and the person that you're interviewing. Prepared questions show that you are organized, interested and have more to bring to the table.

Contributor: Noelle Johnson, Owner of My Interview Buddy

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#4 Be On Time

We always schedule a day and time to talk with candidates. In fact, we even send calendar invites. Believe it or not, about 40% of the time when we call for a scheduled phone screen the candidate does not answer for the scheduled call! That’s an immediate concern for us.

Contributor: Rhian Sharp (MBA, MHR) from sharpmedicalrecruiting.com

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#5 Relax!

If a call wasn't scheduled and the recruiter catches you off-guard, it's ok to ask to schedule for a later time in the day or the next morning.

Phone interviews can be stressful, and you should be as relaxed and comfortable as possible. It also gives you some extra time to go through the position and the company's description one more time and prepare any documents you want to have with you, like your resume, during the call.

Contributor: Claudine Pilon, operation manager for Thorens Solutions Headhunters

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#6 Avoid ‘Overselling’ Yourself

So many candidates convey a lack of confidence talking about the great work they have done. One candidate told me to ‘just look at my resume’! I was shocked! The truth is some people are not comfortable sharing about themselves and their work. But the phone screen is your first chance to really sell your skills. The resume was just an introduction we want to hear your talk about yourself in a confident but not conceited manner.

Contributor: Rhian Sharp (MBA, MHR) from sharpmedicalrecruiting.com

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#7 Do Your Research

Do your preparation, research the company you're having the interview with, even put together a sheet with the info on it, the interviewer can't see this, just don't sound like you're reading from it!

Contributor: Sarah Clegg from findmeagift.com

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#8 Use Your Voice

Your voice is your only communication tool in a phone interview, ensure your tone is positive and enthusiastic, and smile, it makes such a difference to your overall sound, and it will be noticed.

Contributor: Sarah Clegg from findmeagift.com

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#9 Get Your Settings Right

Don’t be in the car. Don’t be around animals. Don’t be around screaming babies. Make sure your phone is charged. Focus on enunciating, speaking clearly, and not rushing your speech. Smile - people can tell when you smile on the phone. You want to sound professional, and be in an area that won’t result in distracting noises. No one wants to hear a dog bark when you’re on a phone interview.

Contributor: Matt Vaughn, Director of Talent Services at Full Stack Talent

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Written by James Metcalfe

Twenty year old writer living life on the south coast, struggles to tie his own shoelaces. Believes Toad is the real hero of the Mario universe.

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