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How to succeed in a phone screen or phone interview for a new job

Though you have the benefit of interviewing in the privacy of your own home, successful phone interviews can still be stressful. Many people find themselves more nervous when having to do a phone interview because they do not prepare themselves as much as they would for a regular job interview. There are things you should keep in mind, including dressing professionally, to ensure yourself a successful phone interview.


Do research the company

Before speaking with the human resource manager, do your research on the company. Get a very good idea of their product line, where they are located, their sales figures, their markets. Google their name and see if any points of interest are raised. The more you know about a company the more comfortable you will be when you speak with them, it will also give you content for your questions.

Do dress professionally

As strange as this may sound for a phone interview, there is truth in the saying “dress the part.” If you are professionally dressed (shirt, slacks and shoes) you will feel as though you are in an interview and this will come out in your voice and your answers. If you are dressed in shorts and sandals, mentally you will feel as though you are on the beach and you will fail with the interview.

Do prepare your questions

An interview is a two way conversation. The company wants to know more about you and you should want to know more about them. So have questions regarding the job, the working environment, and the company prepared beforehand.

Do keep the room quiet

You would never take your children to an interview nor would you keep your cell phone on, so show the same respect to the phone interviewer. Make sure you are away from the children in a quiet place, turn off the TV and your cell, no music whatsoever, have water beside you, but don’t open a can of soda during the interview either.

Do provide the correct information

Make sure the company has your correct phone number. If it is a cell number, make sure you have reception and enough power. Make sure the company has your latest resume and have a copy of it in front of you. There is nothing more annoying than a bad phone connection and old data.


Do not take it for granted

Too many applicants see the phone interview as a casual thing; it’s not. It is a serious first major step to employment. Applicants need to take the phone interview seriously and be prepared.

Do not schedule it during busy times

Make sure you have quiet time for a phone interview, outside distractions like work, family, car traffic, and crowds should all be avoided. If you have an interview scheduled during the day, go somewhere that is quiet and where you are sure you will not be disturbed.

A phone interview is a very personal one on one conversation and should be treated as such. If you are trying to have a phone interview on your way home commuting or with friends in a restaurant, the employer will find you disrespectful. Make personal time for the interview.

Do not talk too much

When we are nervous we do one of two things; we talk and never shut up or we don’t talk and provide one word answers. Both cases are a big no-no. If you are prepared, you will be relaxed and you will be able to control your emotions. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t heard the other person speak in about a minute, you are probably talking too much. Be quiet and let them talk.

Do not cancel

If you have a time and a date all confirmed don’t cancel it, unless it is a real emergency. The hiring manager is a busy person and they need to be respected. If you cancel a phone interview, they will automatically assume you are not interested in the role and move onto the next applicant.

Jumping cartoon

The phone interview is critical to employment success. Be prepared, be yourself, and have a one on one conversation.

More expert advice about Finding a New Job

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John FrancisPresident

21 years recruitment and assessment experience, president and managing partner of ACareerJob and Theonera Inc., Human Resource professional association member....

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