How to Ace Your Phone Interview

How to Ace Your Phone Interview

Jennifer Sievers
Director of Client Services, Acclivity Healthcare

In today’s nationwide market, many first interviews are conducted by telephone. A hiring manager reviews your resume, is interested in you and gives you a call. Whether the call is scheduled or you are caught by surprise, it’s true that first impressions are critical! Flub this call and you probably won’t get a second chance.

So what can you do to make sure you’re prepared for the phone to ring?
Try these simple tips:

  1. Choosing the right call-back number is critical. Don’t list every possible telephone number at which you can be reached. A home number and cell number are typically all an employer needs. If your cell is a company phone, list only your home number or get a personal cell phone. A company phone should never be used for your job search.
  2. If you are currently employed or you spend a large amount of time in situations where it would be difficult to talk freely to a prospective employer, make sure you have a professional voice mail message on your phone. Be sure to check your messages regularly. Cute or casual messages work great for friends and family but they could turn away a potential hiring manager.
  3. Never return calls unless you can devote 100 percent of your attention to the conversation. That means NEVER calling while driving. Recruiters understand that you’re not free to talk and will be happy to schedule a time that is mutually convenient.
  4. Always try to schedule the meeting as soon as possible. A sense of urgency is key to a successful interview process.

Once you set up the phone interview, you can start working on preparing for the interview itself. Be ready to cite professional accomplishments and sum up your work history in a few sentences, as many recruiters will start the conversation asking you to tell them a little bit about yourself. This is actually the hardest part for many people. If you have your answer ready to go, you’ll start off your phone interview with a win…and hopefully end up winning the job as well!