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Phone Interview Tips

Mamta Mule
Telephonic interviews are used by many companies to select their employees. These can be tricky and tough, but if rightly handled, they can launch a new career option for you.
Getting nervous when you have to appear for an interview is quite normal. Though a phone interview seems to be easier than physically sitting in front of the interviewers and answering questions, these are very tricky and can be tougher than you expect.
No, we are not scaring you, but ignoring preparation can surely mess up the conversation. Further, you can lose the golden job opportunity, due to a badly-handled phone call. Of course, the questions will be no different from those in case of a regular interview.
These interviews are used by the employers for identifying various qualities of a candidate. They are generally meant to shortlist the candidates. They are also used as a way to save time or minimize the expenses involved in interviewing the candidates, especially the ones staying far away.
The reasons can vary and it is always better to be prepared for an interview, while you are active in job search. You never know when a recruiter might give you a call and have a conversation with you.

Preparing for the Interview

  • Fix the place where you will be attending the phone call. Make sure the place is peaceful and there is no disturbance in the network. Noise and bad reception can be very irritating and disturbing during the interview.
  • Preferably, have a table to arrange the things that are required during the interview.
  • Have your resume and a glass of water with you. It will be useful if you are questioned about your academic details.
  • Switch on/off the fan or the lights as per your requirement.
  • Have a pen and notepad in place.
  • Remember the time fixed for the interview.
  • Deactivate the call waiting system (if your phone has one), before you get the interview call, as this might be disturbing if someone calls you during the interview.
  • Also, if you are on another call, a few minutes before interview time, just disconnect it. The interviewer might call you a few minutes before. So it is better to keep your phone free.
  • If the interviewer is going to call and the scheduled time has passed, keep waiting; don't give them a call. Wait for a day and then you may call them.
Most of these things can be done, only if an interview call is already scheduled.
What if you suddenly get a call from a recruiter for a job opening? Maybe it is a proper interview call or just for fixing an in-person interview, but you need to be equally good while answering it. Remember, a two-minute conversation can also lead to your rejection, if you don't handle it well.

Some Dos and Don'ts

  • Don't eat/smoke during the call.
  • Don't speak very slowly or too fast. Be loud enough and talk calmly, so that the interviewer can understand what you are saying.
  • Don't use monosyllables while answering.
  • Don't get scared and lie, saying you are not available and ask to call back later. This may be the last chance and the recruiter might not call back.
  • The voice clarity is very important.
  • Use the interviewer's title (Mr. or Ms. followed by their last name); don't use their first names, unless you are told so.
  • Listen to the interviewer. Don't interrupt him, unless he finishes talking.
  • Take a pen and pad as soon as you get the call. You may be asked to come down to the company for an in-person interview. So the contact address and your interviewer's name can be noted properly, instead of you calling them back later for the same.

Important Interview Techniques

  • Though you are interviewed over the phone, try to create an atmosphere of an in-person interview. This will increase the comfort level between you and the interviewer.
  • Have a decent tone during the conversation.
  • Listen carefully and always request to repeat the question, if you are unable to understand it. This is better than giving an irrelevant answer, without understanding the question.
  • Think and answer. Take your own time. It is just like an in-person interview; don't answer hastily.
  • Give short answers and take proper pauses. Using long sentences without a pause will make it difficult for the interviewer to interpret what you are saying.
  • Don't refer to any notes while answering. Mind well, the interviewer can easily make out if you are reading out written text.
  • Stay prepared for common interview questions like your personal introduction, previous job background, salary expectations, joining date, etc.
  • Always remember to thank the interviewer for his call and time.
  • In case you are genuinely busy and cannot take the call, explain the situation to the interviewer and ask for another time slot. Do not disconnect the call. If you absolutely can't take it, send an apology message with a valid reason and call back as soon as you are free.
The mentioned tips will surely help you tackle a telephonic interview conversation. An interview held over the phone can be a great opportunity to impress the recruiter with a confident voice, decent tone, and a calm approach.
Remember, a small-duration call can be a big test of a candidate's selection process. Don't be ignorant and scared about such interviews. Just be prepared. A single call can take you many steps ahead, towards your career goal.