8 Of The Top Phone Interview Tips You Need To Know

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You’re looking for a new job and just got invited to a phone interview. Congratulations! You’re well on your way to securing a new position. We’ll share our top phone interview tips, so you have the best possible chance of advancing in the hiring process.

If you’re searching for a new job, we recommend starting your search on ZipRecruiter! ZipRecruiter is free for job seekers. You can also upload your resume to ZipRecruiter’s resume database so that recruiters and employers can find you!

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What Is A Phone Interview?

A phone interview is a brief (typically 30 minutes or less) telephone conversation occurring at the beginning of the hiring process. It’s a common way for an employer to narrow down the field of potential job candidates. It’s also an opportunity for you to gauge if the position might be a good fit for your career.

Often, companies will have two rounds of phone interviews — first with the recruiter and then with the hiring manager. The recruiter will typically discuss the company, role, your background, and your job preferences (including your desired salary) at a high level. The hiring manager will generally dive deeper into the position and makeup of the team. If you make it through this phase, you’ll advance to the next step (likely an in-person interview or in-depth video interview).

How To Prepare For A Phone Interview

Here’s what you should do to prepare for a phone interview:

  • Know the particulars: when the phone interview will take place, who’ll be doing the calling (you or the employer), and who’ll be conducting the interview (recruiter or hiring manager).
  • Review the job description and note how your experience and credentials align with the role’s requirements.
  • Research the company by visiting the website, checking social media profiles, and running an internet search.
  • Learn more about your interviewer, including how long they’ve been with the company and their general career history.
  • Write down anything interesting you learn about the organization or your interviewer.
  • Create a short list of questions about the company and the role. Here are the best questions to ask in an interview.
  • Practice answering common interview questions to feel more confident about your responses. For instance, you should have solid answers for why you’re looking for a new job and why you're interested in this specific position.
  • Determine your target salary range by researching compensation trends for the job. Salary.com and ZipRecruiter.com offer useful pay information.

Pro Tip: Set up your interview space in advance. Make sure your resume, the job description, and the notes and questions you prepared are within arm’s reach. You should also have a pen, paper, water bottle, and phone charger nearby.

8 Of The Best Phone Interview Tips

Choose Your Location Wisely

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You and your interviewer must be able to hear and understand each other to have a productive conversation. So, choose a quiet phone interview location with a strong cellular signal.

Check Your Phone

A dead battery can ruin your chance of getting a job that’s the perfect fit. So, make sure you charge your phone before the interview.

Pro Tip: Make sure your voicemail greeting sounds upbeat and professional — just in case your interviewer’s call doesn’t connect, or you can’t answer the phone.

Dress The Part

While it’s true that your interviewer won’t be able to see you, putting on professional attire can boost your confidence and put you in a career-oriented state of mind. So, swap out those sweatpants for slacks!

Establish Rapport Right Away

Some interviewers will want to get to business as soon as you exchange greetings. But many will want to chit-chat for a moment first. If that’s the case, use the opportunity to establish rapport with the recruiter or hiring manager.

Pro Tip: Answer the phone in a friendly and professional way. For example, “Hello. This is [your name].”

Watch How You Speak

Since your interviewer can’t see you, how you speak is incredibly important. Be sure to communicate clearly and slowly, so you’re easily understood. You should also maintain a professional and conversational tone, show your enthusiasm, avoid using slang, and demonstrate active listening skills.

Pro Tip: Try smiling as you answer your interviewer’s questions. Your tone of voice is sure to be friendly.

Ask About Next Step

Once you’ve answered all of your interviewer’s questions (and they’ve answered yours!), reiterate your interest in the job and ask about the next step in the hiring process. Find out when you can expect to hear from the company.

Express Your Gratitude

As soon as you hang up, send the recruiter or hiring manager a short, memorable thank you email. Briefly express your gratitude for their time, share your excitement about the opportunity, and refer to highlights of your phone conversation.

Remember To Follow Up

If your interviewer said they’d get back to you in two weeks, and it’s been three, you should send a follow-up email. Much like the thank you email, your message should be short and underscore your continued interest. It’s also appropriate to ask when the company expects to make a decision.

The Bottom Line

Looking for a new job can be a long and tedious process. The phone interview is a critical step in that journey. Hopefully, you now feel like you can ace your next phone interview.

If you need a little help on your job search, consider checking out one of our choices for the best resume writing service. Then, use your new resume to apply for jobs on ZipRecruiter!