You pick up the phone. It’s the call you’ve been expecting. It’s important. It’s terrifying.
It begins. You answer the questions honestly, concisely. You demonstrate some experience, you crack a few jokes, you ask a few questions of your own. It’s going well. Then it happens.
‘Can you describe yourself in three words?’
You stop, speechless. Your mind frantically scrambles for an answer, and before you can stop yourself, you’re rambling.
It’s happened to everyone, in some way or another. Maybe your brain just freezes when you try to recite your qualifications, or perhaps you mistake one question for another. Whatever your phone interview nightmare, you’re not alone – even the most charismatic professionals have struggled at the hands of miscommunication or hesitance. With these phone interview tips, we’ll cover leaving a lasting impression on your prospective employer, as well as the basics of follow up e-mails and further contact.
Related: Deadly Job Interview Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
1. Be as Clear as Possible
What’s complicated about the phone call as a method of communication is its absence of a face-to-face forum for showing emotional reactions. This means if you’re not already familiar with your conversational partner, tone and implication can be misconstrued.
Clarity when delivering phone interview answers is absolutely imperative. This isn’t to say you should never make a joke or that you should present every word with overemphasised enunciation. Just be sure to answer questions without too much theatricality or ambiguity until you feel it’s appropriate to do otherwise. Your contact wants to understand your answer as much as you want to understand their question. If you feel you’ve struck up the right relationship with your employer, however, jokes and informality are the best way to leave a great impression.
2. Know Your Contact
It’s vital to have a strong understanding of your interviewer’s background and the company you’re hoping to land a job with. This is true of any interview, but it’s a particularly important factor over the phone. As we’ve mentioned, clarity and tone can be distorted during a call, so prior knowledge keeps things straightforward and easy for both participants. Naturally, however, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions. If there is something you’re unsure about, there and then is the best time to ask. Phone interview questions aren’t just for the employers.
3. Don’t Panic if Things Go Wrong
Bad phone interview answers aren’t the end of the world. To err is human. You’re not a machine, and your employers don’t want to think you are. If you’re worried that your answer was inadequate or that you’ve made a mistake… well, don’t worry. Don’t forget that your interviewer is probably still taking notes. The last thing they want to hear is your panic manifesting itself over the phone. Keep calm, listen to what they say, and move on. Everyone is their own worst critic, and your mistake probably wasn’t as bad as you’re imagining. What’s done is done, and there really is no need to worry – especially not while you’re still on the line.
Related: How You Can Better Prepare for Your Next Job Interview
4. Be Prepared
This one seems obvious, but many people will forget the little things they can do to give an impression of organization and control. Make sure you know for certain the time of the scheduled interview. If one hasn’t been set, be ready to answer the phone. If you know you concentrate better in a certain environment, take the call in that environment. A glass of water can be helpful in making your voice as clear as possible. It’s good to have writing materials handy if you need to take anything down. If you think you may be asked for specific details of qualifications or experience, keep the list in front of you. This can also help with the dreaded ‘describe yourself in three words’ phone interview question. it’s a lot easier to describe yourself when your achievements are set out in front of you.
5. Don’t Overcomplicate Further Communication
If you feel you should write a follow-up or thank you e-mail, be brief, to-the-point and appreciative. You’re not writing an essay, you’re simply thanking them for your time. Employers are busy people, but they’re also human. They’ll appreciate your effort, even if it’s something as small as an e-mail.
You put down the phone. The interview is over. You did your best, and you’re proud. All you can do now is wait.
Related: 10 Resume Tips to Help You Get a Job Quickly and Successfully