Phone Interview Tips

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Employers may use a phone interview to do some initial screening before committing the time to bring you in for a full, in person interview. Ensure you are in a quiet place with no distractions in order to make the best first impression.

A telephone job interview may be set up ahead of time, or the employer may call unannounced and ask you to answer a few questions right away.

The following tips will help you to make a great impression during a telephone job interview. 

1. Always keep your resume and any other important job related documents close to the telephone that you use most often. 

Whether you post the documents on the refrigerator, or keep a file folder with your resume and other documents on the end table beside your phone, if your resume is on hand when an employer calls, you'll be able to quickly access any information he or she requires without having to search for it. 

This very simple job search strategy will help you to appear very relaxed and organized to employers and allow you to answer phone interview questions with ease. 

2. Phone interview questions are typically the same type of questions that are asked in initial interviews. 

Review the list of frequently asked interview questions to get an idea of the questions you will likely be asked in your telephone interview and prepare good answers to those questions. 

3. If the telephone interview was pre-arranged, ensure that things are quiet in your home at that time. 

Take your telephone to a quiet room where you'll be able to concentrate and fully focus on all of the employer's questions. 

4. Sometimes phone interviews are not set up ahead of time; employers will simply call at a time that is convenient for them and ask you to answer a few pre-screening questions. 

Unfortunately, most employers make these types of calls at the end of the work day, around four o'clock. This time is also the time when many households are at their most chaotic, with kids returning home from school and parents trying to make supper. 

If your telephone interview was not set up ahead of time, and the employer happens to call at a time when there is chaos in your house, it is perfectly acceptable to say to the employer, "Would you please excuse me for a moment while I go to a quieter phone?" That is much preferable to trying to conduct and interview through distractions and noise. 

If you absolutely cannot escape the noise and chaos, it is generally better to offer to call the employer back than to try to conduct an interview between kids screaming and dogs barking. Try saying something along the lines of, "I apologize for the noise, would you mind if I called you back at a time that is convenient for you? I'll ensure that things are quiet so I can fully answer all of your questions." 

Notice that the job seeker asked to call the employer back rather than asking the employer to call back. That way you, the job seeker, remain in control of the situation and don't have to sit by the phone hoping the employer will call back. 

It may seem a bit risky to offer to call back, and it is ideal to find a quite spot and answer the employer's questions at that time. However, if it is absolutely impossible to remove yourself from the noise and chaos, you'll really struggle to make a good impression in a phone interview with the employer, so it's typically better to politely ask if you could call back.

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