Advice: Acing Phone Interviews

As a recruitment agency, we conduct phone interviews all the time.  We’re able to speak with people and place them in a job that suits their skill set all around the world. Payments & Cards Network is not the only company using phones and skype to interview in our global economy. Cell phones used to weigh the equivalent of a bag of sugar each. Luckily, we’ve come a long way. Now, phones and skype have become the quickest way to communicate no matter where a job applicant is.

It’s easy to forget the difference between in-person and skype/phone interviews. After all, both require speaking with someone about why you’re special and what’s unique about their job offer. But there is a big difference. On the phone, access to body language and non-verbal cues disappears. Not to worry though! Succeeding on the phone or skype is nevertheless possible. We’ve compiled some tips to help smooth the way:

First, prepare a space for yourself that is calm, quiet, well-lit and has a steady wifi/phone connection. It’s not going to be easy to showcase your talent if you’re also trying to run down a flight of stairs to find the nearest quiet corner. Give yourself the ability to focus on the conversation by taking care of setting ahead of time.

Be ready to make a good first impression—you need to be able to enthusiastically and clearly state why you’re interested in the job. Be prepared to explain who you are and what you can bring to the team. You can always prepare ahead of time by recording yourself speaking to catch any verbal tics or filler words you’ve been using without realizing it. Also be aware that when you’re on the phone or skype, it can be harder for the person on the other end of the line to tell if you’re engaged. They can’t hear you nod so make sure to let them know you’re listening. Use occasional verbal acknowledgement as they speak.

When speaking on skype video or facetime, think about appearance just as you would in person. This means clearing your space and dressing professionally. Additionally, skype can magnify shadows. Make sure to sit somewhere with good (and preferably natural) lighting so you don’t look spooky or washed out.

After you rock your phone or skype interview make sure you contact your interviewers in the same way you would had you gone to their office—send a little thank-you email and follow up on when you’ll meet again. Once you’ve mastered your phone interview, you’re past the first hurdle.

And one more thing: enjoy this blast from the past of a TV commercial if you need a break from interview prep…