Phone Interviews: How to Prepare for and Ace Your Next One

You post an opening for a new job. An hour later you’re flooded with dozens of resumes. While many of these candidates are unqualified, many aren’t. And it’s your job to determine the best person for the opening.

Welcome to the life of a hiring manager.

As one of the leading recruiting agencies in Houston, Murray Resources knows there’s simply not enough time in the day to bring in every good candidate for a face-to-face interview. As a result, phone interviews have become a standard part of the hiring process. They’re a good way for a hiring manager to evaluate the people behind the resumes that landed in the “yes” and “maybe” pile, without having to spend an extensive amount of time on in-person interviews.

Now you know why phone interviews are so prevalent today. But do you also know how to properly prepare for one?

If not, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Approach it like a face-to-face interview.

Many job candidates make the mistake of thinking of the phone screen as a quick chat or that it’s not a big deal. But the phone interview is a test. And if you pass it, you will move onto the next phase of the hiring process.

So prepare as you would if you were going on location to interview with the hiring manager. Research the company, the position, and the hiring manager. Think about the accomplishments you want to highlight during the interview. And have answers ready to common interview questions.

If you don’t prepare, it will come through loud and clear to the hiring manager.

Set up a time for the phone interview.

If a hiring manager calls without warning, and you’re at home with your three kids and the dog, then simply explain you’re in the middle of something and ask when they are available to re-schedule. You might be tempted to try to accept the call, but you’ll regret it the second your kids starts screaming and the dog begins barking.

Pick a quiet time and place for the interview.

Have a quiet room or area where you can be alone set aside for your scheduled phone interview. Not only do you want to minimize background noise, but you need to concentrate on the conversation, not on what your kids or spouse are doing.

Walk around while you’re talking.

Doing so will make you feel energized. In addition, it will help you stay focused  – rather than drifting off – while the interviewer is talking.

Don’t say too much.

Phone interviews are difficult because you can’t read the non-verbal cues of the other person. Plus, if you’re talking and the other person doesn’t respond with a comment like “tell me more” or a follow up question, it can be easy to just keep talking. But babbling will get you in trouble. So say what you need to say and then keep quiet.

Ask about next steps.

Just as in a face-to-face interview, be sure to ask the interviewer about the next steps in the hiring process. If they say they will get back to you in a week and don’t, then it’s perfectly appropriate to follow up with them.

Want more interviewing tips and advice? Give Murray Resources a call. As one of the leading recruiting agencies in Houston, we can assist you with the entire job search process – from crafting a strong resume to preparing for interviews – all so you can find job opportunities that are a great fit for your skills and background.

Ready to get started? Contact us today.