- On September 28, 2019
I agree with this recent Forbes post that first round interviews are now phone calls, either with the hiring manager or with HR, instead of an in-person. Employers prefer phone interviews because they can fit candidates into their schedules and cull them faster. The hard part for candidates is showing enthusiasm over the phone and gauging how to respond without being able to see the person.
You should still put in 100% of the effort to prep for this call as if it were an in-person. Research the company, tailor your pitch, and prepare questions. See my posts on the best answer to why you’re interested and essential checklist for interviews.
And I stand behind my very first post from 2013 on how to ace your phone interview:
Keep your answers short. How short? Think 60 to 90 seconds. Anticipate likely questions, and practice answers with a stopwatch.
Take the call standing. You must convey energy, and sitting saps you of that.
Smile when talking. The phone deadens all answers, but the interviewer can hear a smile in your voice when you physically do it. Vary your rhythm and volume to avoid putting anyone to sleep.
Don’t talk when the interviewer is talking. This seems obvious, but often lawyers are cutting people off to get their points in. On this call, you talk, but then stop when the other person is talking.
Tailor your answers based on research on the company and the job. Know the job description, about the company, its competitive landscape, and the bio of the interviewer. Based on this research, you can guess what the top 3 concerns and interests of the interviewer are
Remember: your goal is to be invited in to the company to meet in person. The interviewer has a very basic checklist of skills and personality traits that he or she is looking for. Guessing what the checklist consists of is not rocket science! Prepare ahead of time not only the substance but also the delivery, which is half the battle here. If the employer has agreed to speak to you, you have a shot at the job.