Phone interview tips?

I find phone interviews really difficult because I can’t see how my answers are landing on the interviewers. What are some tips for acing the phone interview?

Comments

  • Hi Caila,

    Phone interviews are challenging, and candidates should try to avoid them when possible - always try for the in-person. However, most employers continue to start the interview process with a phone screen.

    Here are a couple of thoughts:

    • Prepare for it as if the interview is in-person. A lot of candidates dismiss the phone screen as a simple step in the process and fail to prepare thoroughly. This is a big mistake. Phone screens can often be the most difficult interview, because it is harder to make a connection over the phone. Don’t make it harder by not offering substantive and complete answers due to lack of preparation.
    • Make sure you are in a quiet room with no distractions.
    • Use a landline, when possible. A clear connection is important. Test it out before the interview so you can be sure you are in an optimal location.
    • Bring energy to your voice. Unlike an in-person interview, you don’t have body language to save you. You will need to use your voice to demonstrate interest, energy, and passion. Don’t change who you are, but be mindful of that fact that your voice must carry the day.
    • Smile. Believe it or not there are studies that show that the other person can actually perceive this from the other end of the call. One tip is to interview in front of a mirror - that way you can actually see your energy.
    • Walk, talk, wave your arms. Do whatever you need to in order to bring energy to the conversation.
    • Don’t be afraid of silence. If you need to pause in order to think through the question, then don’t be afraid to do so. It’s more important that you provide a good answer.
    • Do your best to not talk over the other person or interrupt them. When we speak with family or friends over the phone, we rarely step on each other. This is because we are in tune and rhythm with each other, and know where the natural breaks are in the conversation. However, when you speak to someone for the first time, rhythm can be harder to establish. Listen actively when the other person is speaking and take a pause before answering questions to ensure the interviewer has completed their sentence.
    • No matter how hard you try, it could still happen that you cut them off or interrupt them. Don’t be rattled by it. Just apologize and let them finish their thought.

    As with anything, a bit of preparation and practice can go a long way to make your feel more comfortable and the call go more smoothly.

    Cheers,

    SoFi's Career Services Team

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