A terrifying pause, a screaming child, a continuous beeping from the other line. There seem to be so many ways that a phone interview can go wrong. But they’re unavoidable these days. Employers use them to weed through applicants and select potential hires for in-person interviews. I think that there is a way to do phone interviews well. It requires preparation and focus, but it’s possible.
1) Isolate yourself. Clear the room of all distractions, including children, pets, the television, and other phones. Tell your family or coworkers that you can’t be interrupted for the next hour.
2) Use your resources. Lay out your resume, your list of questions, and any notes that you may have. Enjoy the benefit of a phone interview; you can use your cheat sheets!
3) Smile. It adds a positive tone to your voice, and it will relax your nerves.
4) Speak slowly and thoughtfully. When you answer questions, enunciate and make your words clear. Your interviewer cannot read your lips, so it’s going to be more difficult to understand your words. Also, take time to form a real response, and don’t just say the first thing that comes to mind.
5) Allow for short silences. Your interviewer is probably recording your responses in some way and jotting quick notes. It is natural that there will be some pauses in your conversation. Also, you should feel free to take a pause to form a cogent, strong answer.