Over 60 percent of the tech managers we work with use phone interviews as a ‘get-to-know-you’ pre-qualifier before setting up an in-person meeting. This allows employers to maximize their time in the first round of interviews and reduce your travel time and expenses. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare!
It’s an important step that can set the tone for the rest of the interview process. And because you can’t convey the same energy over the phone as you can in a face-to-face meeting, you’ll want to find ways to compensate. Here’s how to put your best foot forward in a phone interview:
Find a quiet space.
Even if you have noise-canceling headphones, avoid coffee shops and other public spots, as they’re full of activity that can throw you off your game. Find a nice quiet space where you can be alone without distraction, where you know something uncontrollable won’t fluster you. It’s easy to tell if your mind is elsewhere, even over the phone!
Build a connection right away.
Address the interviewer by name to create authentic rapport as soon as possible. Briefly warm up by asking them about local events, mentioning the weather, or even trending popular culture topics. If they feel a bond with you right way, the rest of the interview will feel personal, and you’ll stand out among the other phone candidates.
Stand up or walk around to get your blood flowing! This will help with your voice projection and energy. If possible have wireless headphones so that your hands are free as well. This gives a sense of freedom in expression and allows you to to be animated with hand-gestures and other nonverbal cues that will be communicated with your voice.
Keep your resume close by.
Your resume is their interview tool, so keep it in front of you and be prepared to answer questions on your experience. Make sure you understand clearly the job you are discussing so that you can highlight your applicable skills. Be ready to give specific examples of your past work performance to prove your knowledge and capabilities. The STAR response interview technique is a great way to talk about your distinct experience that the job requires.
Indicate that you’re paying attention.
The interviewer can’t see that you’re listening to them, so use verbal cues to show that you are actively engaged. Simple responses like “yes,” or “interesting” helps to communicate that you hear them without interrupting or distracting. It’s a very powerful technique to repeat back key things they say in your own words and ask relevant follow-up questions.
Do your homework.
Research the company, position, and team – come with questions to ask! Almost all interviews end with “Do you have any questions for me?” You should never answer no to this question, even in a phone interview! This isn’t the time, however, to discuss money just yet – so save that for a later stage in the process – unless they bring it up first.
Be confident, have fun and remember to smile! Even if they can’t see it, smiling can be felt over the phone and can positively affect your voice tone, projection, and quality.
ProFocus can help you prepare for the phone interview in your technology job search. Give us a call to get tips and resources that give you the upper advantage in an exciting new technology project placement.