Setting Yourself Up To Ace Your Phone Interview

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As if interviewing in-person isn't stressful enough, we often have to get through an initial phone interview when trying to land a job. Not only do you have to navigate the interviewer's questions, but you have to do so without the non-verbal cues and general vibes you get in-person. To help you get to the next round and land that job, here are some ways to set yourself up for success for your next phone interview.

Confirm the call
Twenty-four hours before your phone interview, send the person you'll be speaking with an email to confirm the time and details of the call. Be sure to include the time zone (ex. PST or EST) to avoid any scheduling confusion. If the call-in details aren't included in the invite, be sure to confirm who will be calling whom at what number. This may seem like a small thing, but given how busy people can get, it's better to double check that they're still available to speak, and that everyone has the correct details to make the call happen.

Find a quiet space
This might seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people try to take their phone interviews in their cars or in a seemingly chill coffee shop. Don't underestimate background music and traffic noise—you want to be sure that you and the interviewer can hear each other clearly. Use a pair of headphones with a built-in mic (like the standard white Apple ones) to cut down on ambient noise, and free up your hands to take notes (so you can remember what you talked about for your thank you email and later conversations). If you're calling in via a conference link, be sure you have strong, reliable wifi. Few things are more stressful than the interviewer breaking up while asking you an important question.

Pull up helpful materials
Take advantage of the fact that your interviewer can't see you, and pull up your resume, LinkedIn profile, and the job description on your computer so you can easily reference them during the call. Make whatever will be helpful to you visible—maybe it's a motivational message on a post-it, or a list of things you want to make sure you mention/ask. On the flip side, close out of any non-related tabs or programs and turn off notifications, so you're not distracted and not slowing down your wifi.

Image from    YoungerTV

Image from YoungerTV

Dress to impress
This might sound counterintuitive, because we just talked about how the interviewer can't see you. As tempting as doing your phone interview on your couch in your pajamas sounds, think about how "on" you have to be during an in-person interview, and simulate that same feeling during your phone interview. Wear something that makes you feel like a boss and take the call sitting at a desk or table. Sit up straight and smile when you talk—not in a fake way, but the way you would when talking in-person with someone you just met and are trying to get to know.

Take a sec
When we're on the phone, we feel pressure to keep talking, because silences are even more awkward when you can't see the other person. But this is yourinterview—don't be afraid to pause to collect your thoughts if it'll get you to your best answers. If you need a little extra time, just say, “That’s a great question, let me take a second to collect my thoughts.” Of course, there's a limit to how much time you can take before it does get weird, and hopefully your interview is more of a free-flowing conversation, but if you do find yourself needing more time, you'll know how to handle it.

You got this,
Natalie