The Don’ts of Phone Interviews

From a 5-minute qualifying call to a full-length interview for an out-of-town position, there are a lot of reasons employers might choose to do phone interviews. While the platform might make it seem more casual, if you want to ace that interview you need to remember one thing…it’s not casual. 

Even if you’re just answering some preliminary questions about your qualifications for the position, a phone call might be your only chance to make an impression, so it’s important to give it the respect of an in-person interview. 

Even though many remote interviews are now done over video applications (many of these tips apply to video interviews), there are still times when a phone call will do and it’s important to realize there are just some things you should never do when talking to a potential employer on the phone.

Don’t Go Somewhere Noisy 

Don’t take your call where there will be noises in the background. This might mean coffee shops or public places but it could also mean certain rooms in your house where outside noise comes in through the windows or where you can hear your kids screaming in the next room. It’s hard to plan around life sometimes but if you can’t even plan a noise-free 30-minute-call, how will your employer know you can plan to be productive and efficient on the job?

Eliminating background noise isn’t just about being able to hear and communicate easier, it’s about showing a prospective employer that you value and respect their time. 

Don’t Get Other Stuff Done

Just because we have the technology to walk around and do other things while on the phone doesn’t mean you should…especially when on a phone interview. You’d be surprised what noises can make their way through the phone line and your interviewer will be able to tell if you’re cleaning, cooking, making coffee, or even just playing around on your computer. If you’re distracted, it will come through in your voice even if you don’t think it does. 

You wouldn’t play on your phone or work on knitting while in a face-to-face interview, so don’t do it on a phone interview. 

Don’t Act Bored

Excitement might be hard to portray over the phone so you might have to work even harder to “show” how excited you are about the position. If you’re worried your voice will sound “bored” try smiling through the interview. When we smile, it comes through in our voice. Also, be aware of your posture and “presentation.” Even though they can’t see you, the person on the other end will probably be able to tell if you’re slouching in your chair or relaxing on the couch. It shouldn’t have to be said but don’t yawn loudly or talk to other people while on the call. Be as responsive as possible without interrupting. 

Don’t Get Too Chatty

This isn’t a conversation with your best friend. If you’re doing a phone interview, it’s most likely a short, first interview to get a feel for your experience. You need to get as much relevant information in as quickly as possible so skip the chit-chat and get to the point. Make sure everything you say connects back to the position and how you can add value to their company. 

Phone Interviews: Don’t Forget….

You Know Who Is Calling: So answer appropriately. Answering with a confused, “Hello?” does not give the impression that you’re prepared for your interview. Try something like, “Hello, this is ______.” 

To Charge Your Phone: A low battery does not say prepared.

Headphones: Headphones with a microphone help your voice come through clearly without extra background noise.

To Be Ready When They Call: Don’t make them wait while you plug in your headphones or pull up a file to take notes or get to a quiet place. Be exactly where you need to be with everything you need right when they call.

Good Luck! We are here for you!

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