You did it! You tweaked your resume using my Hiring Manager tips and landed a phone interview! So are you nervous? You shouldn’t be – you don’t want that energy to show through in your tone. Just take a deep breath and review my Hiring Manager tips for nailing a phone interview.
It goes without saying that you should prepare for any type of interview, right? But here I am, saying it. It’s just that there’s a lot to prepare and sometimes you might forget a thing or two…or at least that’s how I am. Having a list helps me, so I made one for you!
THINGS TO PREPARE:
If you don’t recognize the number calling you, don’t answer. Impromptu phone interviews rarely go well. I once had an extremely qualified candidate answer my call in the drive-thru! Don’t be that guy! Let the call go to voicemail, and call them back once you have your ducks in a row.
2. YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Do you have a dog that barks? Kids that might make random noises because that’s what kids do sometimes? A nosy coworker who will poke their head in your office “to see if everything’s alright?” If you’re thinking of taking the call outside, don’t forget to consider possible background noise.
Personally, I take all phone interviews in my car, not on Bluetooth and certainly not while driving. I can control the environment, and I have space for all my stuff. Which brings me to…
3. YOUR STUFF
Besides the obvious copy of your resume, I also suggest having a copy of the job description or ad. Review this before the interview begins so you can focus on your skills that will translate well.
BONUS: Have you workshopped some killer interview answers? Type them up and have them for reference. Sometimes when you get nervous, you forget things, but a simple prompt should get you back on the right track.
Phone etiquette is not as common as it once was, but I assure you the Hiring Manager recognizes and rewards proper etiquette. There are three major points here:
Have a professional – or at least a semi-professional – outgoing message on your voicemail. “Yo, don’t leave a message. Just text me!” is not a proper message. Neither is the system greeting, however I will overlook the latter before the former.
“Hello, you’ve reached the voicemail for Maggie Isley. I’m unable to answer your call at this time, but please leave your name and phone number and I’ll get back to you shortly.”
This is all, no need to overthink it.
Since you’re likely expecting the call for the interview, I wouldn’t suggest just saying “hello” to answer. Personally, I answer my phone with, “Hello, this is Maggie.” Normally the caller will respond with their own greeting in which they identify themselves. Saying “hello” instead opens it up to that whole, “Is Maggie there?” “This is Maggie” nonsense. Just skip all of that and get down to business!
I’ve noticed the trend of people simply saying “Okay, thanks!” and hanging up at the end of a call, but this is not at all professional. It also isn’t awesome to be like, “Okay, bye!” although if you nailed the rest of the call, the Hiring Manager might just be like, “Bye!” and no big deal.
To end on the right foot, though, I would suggest a polite and professional close. “Thank you so much for your time today, Hiring Manager.” If they mentioned the next step during your interview, the close is actually the time to show them you were listening and are invested. “I’ll be watching for your email next week.” And then, close. “Take care!” Or if it’s Friday and you’re laid back, “Enjoy your weekend!”
DON’T TRAIL OFF
So you just gave a beautiful eloquent answer you had workshopped for hours and now you’re going, “Sooo…yeah…” while waiting for the Hiring Manager to ask the next question. Meanwhile they’re wondering if you are just gathering your thoughts so they aren’t speaking, either. Insert awkward silence.
To prevent this, use the old trick from school! Restate the question when wrapping up your answer. You can do this one of two ways:
1. SUMMARIZE AND RESTATE: “Increasing my team’s productivity was my biggest accomplishment at XYZ Company.”
2. OLD STAND BY: “And that was my biggest accomplishment at XYZ Company.”
This is probably a no-brainer, much like being prepared, but sometimes the phone interview can be so whirlwind, the Hiring Manager doesn’t even remember to ask if you have any other questions because they’re already starting to think of their next appointment. It’s important to pull them back into the present and end strong. “Great! I just have a couple questions before you go. Do you have a moment?” No respectful person will respond with, “No I do NOT have a moment! Good day!”
Just like you would follow up after an in person interview, you’ll want to send an email after your phone interview. Use this as a chance to perfect any answers you may have felt needed clarification as well as express your interest and thank the Hiring Manger. This is also a good time to attach anything additional you had omitted when you initially applied, such as your references.
Now go forth and nail that phone interview!