phone interview

According to executive director Michael McGuinness, phone interviews are becoming increasingly common. They’re time-saving, cost-effective ways for companies to screen job candidates, and while they make a lot of sense, they can also be pretty scary. After all, you’ve got to sell yourself and make a strong first impression using just your voice, and even with the added benefit of using notes, that can be tough. But it’s not impossible. In a piece titled “How to Ace Your Next Phone Interview,” Donna Fuscaldo offers four great tips for landing an in-person follow-up.

1. Show Some Energy — During in-person interviews, it’s easy to make a personal connection and show your enthusiasm for the position. On the phone, it’s harder, but it’s not impossible. While you’re talking, stand up, smile, and use positive body language. Also, if you’re the type of person who feels more confident when you’re dressed well, put on nice clothes. Just because you can do the interview in your pajamas, it doesn’t mean you have to.

2. Don’t Lose Connection — These days, no one uses landlines anymore, so it’s perfectly fine to do the interview on your cell. Just make sure you’re someplace where you get good reception. Losing the call midway through is a major no-no. Also, be sure to chat in an area free of distractions. The person you’re speaking with might not hear your roommate making spaghetti in the background, but if it throws you off your game, it’ll hurt your chances of making a good impression.

3. Approach It Like an In-Person Interview — Phone interviews may seem more casual, but the usual rules apply. Don’t ask a bunch of questions about salary and vacation time. The focus is still on what you can bring to the company.

4. Don’t Be Afraid of Silence — There’s a tendency during phone interviews to talk and talk and fill every gap in the conversation. While you want to give strong answers to the interviewer’s questions, it’s OK to compose your thoughts. If the other person pauses, it’s likely because they’re jotting down notes or thinking about what they’re going to say next, so don’t rush to say something simply for the sake of saying something.