Before the call, confirm all the details including the date, time, and who you will be talking to. Be sure you know whether the interviewer is calling you or if you need to make the call. If something goes wrong and you miss the call, or the recruiter doesn’t call on time, don’t panic. You should be able to get the call back on track or reschedule if need be.
Do’s and Don’ts During the Phone Interview
- Do use the person’s title (Mr. or Ms. and their last name.) Only use their first name if they ask you to.
- Don’t smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink.
- Have a pen and paper handy for note-taking.
- Turn call-waiting off, so your call isn’t interrupted.
- If the time isn’t convenient, ask if you could talk at another time and suggest some alternatives.
- Clear the room — evict the kids and the pets. Turn off the stereo and the TV. Close the door.
- If you have a landline, use that instead of your cell phone. That way, you’ll eliminate the possibility of poor reception or dropped calls.
- Do keep a glass of water handy, though. There isn’t much worse than having a tickle in your throat or a cough starting when you need to talk on the phone. Have a glass of water ready so you can take a quick sip if your mouth gets dry or there’s a catch in your throat.
- Do smile. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice. It can also be helpful to stand during the interview, since this typically gives your voice more energy and enthusiasm.
- Do focus, listen, and enunciate. It’s important to focus on the interview and that can be harder on the phone than in-person. Be sure to listen to the question, ask for clarification if you’re not sure what the interviewer is asking, and speak slowly, carefully, and clearly when you respond. It’s fine to take a few seconds to compose your thoughts before you answer.
- Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
- Do take your time — it’s perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to collect your thoughts.
- Do take notes. It’s hard to remember what you discussed after the fact, so take brief notes during the interview.
- Do give short answers. It’s important to stay focused on the questions and your responses.
- Do have questions to ask the interviewer ready. Be prepared to respond when the interviewer asks whether you have any questions for him or her. Review these questions to ask the interviewer and have a few ready in advance.
- Do remember your goal is to set up a face-to-face interview. At the end of your conversation, after you thank the interviewer, ask if it would be possible to meet in person.