Phone Interviews: Prepare to Succeed

Posted by:Whitridge in Technology Careers
27 August 2013 0

As IT Recruiters, we know that for some people, phone interviews are more stressful than in-person interviews, and they are just as important since they generally determine whether you proceed to an in-person interview. Here are a few suggestions on how to make your phone interview more impactful.

Homework and research isn’t just for school. Take time to find out about the company you are interviewing with. Your IT Recruiter can provide valuable insights and information, but take some initiative yourself as well – visit the company’s website and their LinkedIn and/or Facebook page if they have one (as well as the LinkedIn profile of the hiring manager). See what people are saying on websites such as that provide employee reviews of companies, and look them up in a search engine (you may also want to do a search with a time filter, limiting results to the last month, to see any recent news, upcoming events, etc.) Once you have a sense of the company, come up with some relevant questions you plan to ask during the interview. The IT Recruiter you are working with will review the position with you and note all appropriate questions you should ask during the call. The more curious and informed you sound, the more capable an impression you will make.

Identify a quiet, private space for your phone interview, somewhere void of interruption and easy to speak freely. Make sure there is excellent cell phone reception - a landline is best, if possible. If you are having trouble finding a suitable location, your IT Recruiter can suggest an alternative, such as Liquid Office Space, which provides small desks, phones, computers, and peripheral office equipment for as little as $25 per day, and some are even free!

Set your environment: Things you should have in front of you include your resume, the description of the job for which you are being interviewed, the cover letter you wrote for the job (if applicable), the questions you prepared, and any other notes that remind you of specific assets, experience, skills, recognitions, etc. that you want to mention – your IT Recruiter can advise you on what is particularly relevant to the position. You should also have something on which to take notes (whether that’s a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or an old-fashioned pad of paper and a pen (or 2)). It is helpful to jot down pieces of information that help you when you progress to the next stage of the hiring process.

First things first: the interviewer wants to hear your voice. They do not want to hear you eating, drinking, or chewing gum. Don’t hesitate  to ask  your  questions – asking the hiring manager for information about the role, including expectations for the first week and month, helps guide your answers to their questions, making sure you’re highlighting your most relevant experience and how it aligns with the client’s needs. When you answer questions, expand on your experience with RELEVANT information, describing previous projects almost as if you were telling a story. When the conversation comes to a close, feel free to turn the tables and ask them whether they have any questions for you, such as something that needs clarification or anything they want you to expand on. An effective question to close with is “Is there anything I should have asked that I may have overlooked?" It’s also appropriate to ask the hiring manager what their thoughts are on the next step, including timeline, number of candidates under consideration, etc. The interviewer will be in touch with your IT Recruiter to provide feedback.

Contact your IT Recruiter to discuss how your interview went! Also, as with an in-person interview, follow up with a thank you note to the hiring manager.

Be confident, be prepared, win the job!