If you’re applying for a job that is in another city, you won’t likely have an in-person interview unless you’re applying for a job that carries a very high paycheck and a great deal of responsibility. Most of the time, you’ll instead be given a phone interview. While phone interviews may sound intimidating, in some ways they give you a definite advantage. Here are some tips for preparing for your phone interview and taking advantage of the positive aspects of dealing with a recruiter long distance.
The main disadvantage of a phone interview is probably that you can’t see the recruiter and he or she can’t see you. This may make you feel uneasy since your voice is all you have to convey yourself. You can’t impress the recruiter with your professional dress or your charming smile. The flipside of this is an advantage, however. You can’t irritate the recruiter by looking at him or her the wrong way, or wearing a different brand of suit than the one the recruiter prefers. Nothing about your looks can cost you the job, and if you look nervous, the recruiter will probably never know as long as you can keep your voice steady.
A phone interview is actually easier to prepare for in many ways than a face-to-face interview, because you can openly reference as many notes as you’d like during the interview. You can even write down entire answers to questions you think you might be asked, and read those answers directly if the questions come up. In a face-to-face interview, you can reference notes, but you certainly can’t read straight from them. So take full advantage of this fact. Prepare as many resources as you need to. Lay out the pages of your resume in front of you so you can see them all at once. Have your own cover letter on the desk before you for reference. Write down a list of possible discussion topics and questions for the interviewer.
Having good manners can go a long way in any job interview, but it’s a particularly good skill to have when you’re doing a phone interview. Bad phone manners are so common that they’re almost ubiquitous; in an era when everyone carries a cell phone, this may seem surprisingly, but nonetheless it’s true. Simply being friendly and polite and remembering to say “please” and “thank you” in itself can go far.
Being able to maintain a good flow of conversation is another determining factor in a phone interview. While this is important face to face, there is nowhere that an awkward gap is more noticeable than on the phone. If you can eliminate those conversational gaps and keep things moving along and flowing like a natural dialogue, you will probably impress the recruiter, who will simply be relieved and how smoothly things went. So try not to be too intimidated by your next phone interview; it may go better than the same interview would if it were in person.