Telephone interviews are becoming more frequently used for first-round screening interviews, and companies conduct these types of interviews primarily for cost reasons. By asking some key questions of candidates about their skills, career objectives and training, a company determines the value of bringing them in for a face-to-face interview. Your goal for a telephone interview is to get the in-person interview. If you are being interviewed on the phone, consider the following tips, in addition to reviewing general interviewing tips.

  • Prepare as you would for a regular interview, as the phone interview can make or break chances in the next steps of the process.
  • Make sure you are in a quiet place where you will not be interrupted and that you have good phone reception. Avoid smoking, chewing gum, eating or drinking.
  • Have your résumé and cover letter for the position in front of you, as well as the information that you have collected about the company, your questions, and a pad of paper to jot down notes as needed.
  • The FCC has rooms with land lines available if you need to use them for your phone interviews. Keep in mind, availability may be limited due to employer visits and other events. Stop by the front desk to reserve a room.
  • Since the interviewer cannot see you and pick up messages from your body language, it becomes important for you to communicate verbal enthusiasm and interest in the position and the company.
  • Smile while you speak and stand up to gain more energy. It may also help if you dress up for the telephone interview, as you would for a personal interview, in order to help you feel confident and professional.
  • Enunciate. Speak a little slower than in a face-to-face interview.
  • Soon after the interview, take notes on what you discussed, in case you are called in for a subsequent, in-person interview.
  • At the end of the interview, thank your interviewer for his or her time and ask about next steps. Make sure you have the interviewer’s correct name and contact information.
  • Make sure to send a thank you note.

Virtual interviews

Interviews can also be done in a virtual setting via Skype, another webcam service, and avatars are also being used by some companies. Virtual interviews present their own unique challenges. In addition to the suggestions for phone interviews, strategies are provided below:

  • Where you look is important. You should look at the webcam not the computer screen. This increases your sense of presence and “eye contact” with the interviewer.
  • Make sure you have the employer’s contact username and that they have yours. Clarify the process of initial contact. Will you initially contact them or will they initially contact you?
  • Practice with a friend or family member to see how you come across via webcam, especially taking note of how your nonverbal communication appears on screen, eye contact, positioning of your seat in relation to the webcam, lighting, and sound quality.
  • Ideally, position the webcam at eye level or slightly higher.
  • Pay close attention to the background, which should look professional, clean, and simple.
  • Request a brief test run with the interviewer to troubleshoot any technical problems after you have done an initial test run with a friend or family member.
  • Dress professionally as for an in-person interview.