What to Do and NOT Do on Your Next Phone Interview:
Most of us have read enough tweets or seen enough YouTube clips to be well aware by now that we’re living in the middle of the golden age of technology. However, in the era of the telephone interview, it’s harder to know how to best show yourself, before a potential employer ever actually gets to see YOU or your work. Here are some tips and tricks from the desks of the PMG Tech Solutions Team (TST) on what to do and NOT do on your next phone interview.
Pre – Call:
Do Your Research
It’s no secret that recruiters are doing their homework on you, your education, and your work history. Don’t be afraid to do the same. Find out everything you can about that company and interviewer to make sure you don’t leave important questions unasked.
“Do research on PMG and/or the company prior to interview (industry, location, history)- knowledge is power!” – Marisa B. TST
Don’t Dress for Comfort
It’s a phone interview, why worry about what you’re wearing? Well, to steal a phrase from coaches everywhere, you play like you practice. If you want the job, dress like you’ve already got it. Put yourself in the right mental space.
Do Find a Good Location
Life happens. We all know that. But it’s best if you can keep it from happening in the background during a phone interview. Impressions are everything and distractions can ruin an otherwise great interview.
“Do make sure you’re in a quiet and appropriate setting – maybe don’t interview in the casino bathroom!” – Isabel B. TST
Don’t Frown on the Phone
Plain and simple, tone shows on the phone. If you want to sound pleasant, confident, and energized about the job, you need to smile throughout your call. The interviewer may not see it, but they can definitely hear it.
“Don’t be down – be upbeat, positive, and confident (but not too confident where we think you’re full of it)!” – Marisa B. TST
Do Prepare and Practice
Proper preparation prevents poor performance. This is true in life and on the shop floor, therefore, it’s true on the telephone. Think about potential questions and be ready with answers. This will go a long way to easing any anxiety too.
“Do know the progression of your employment history and be able to speak to that without huge hesitations.” – Ted C. TST
On – Call:
Do Keep it Conversational
Recruiters aren’t just looking for great candidates; they’re looking for great co-workers, employees, and teammates. Keep it professional, but friendly, and don’t be afraid to let out an occasional chuckle or two.
“Do provide detailed responses without going off on long, unrelated tangents.” – Ted C. TST
Phone connections are not created equal and there’s only so many times an interviewer can ask you to repeat yourself. Pace yourself, project your voice, and ANNUNCIATE. Keep a glass of water handy too.
“Don’t forget to speak clearly and have a good connection. We need to hear you to be impressed by your answer.” – Benjamin P. TST
Do Ask Questions
This is an interview, not an interrogation. You want to make sure this is a company you want to work for as much as they are vetting if you should work for them. Ask those questions you prepared pre-call.
“Do have questions. Coming into an interview prepared with questions reflects professionalism and that you are taking this job seriously.” – Brent R. TST
Don’t Talk Dollars and Cents
Avoid awkwardness by remembering the first interview is about adding to your knowledge base and impressing your interviewer. Salary, benefit, and schedule questions can wait. Use this call to make sure you get a follow-up call.
“Don’t begin negotiating terms or pay before we even start the interview.” – Isabel B. TST
Do Talk Next Steps
Before your call ends make sure you ask about next steps to reemphasize your interest in the position and establish expectations. You won’t be left wondering about appropriate protocol for follow ups if you’ve already asked.
Post – Call
Do Send a Thank You
Whether via email or real mail, sending a follow up Thank You note never hurts and often goes a long way to setting yourself apart from other candidates.
“Do send a follow up email. It shows professionalism and always impresses me.”
– Benjamin P. TST
Don’t Turn into a Stalker
Establishing next steps during the call can help alleviate the temptation to do this, but nothing turns a potential employer off more than over-indulging in follow ups. Take a relationship type view – if it’s meant to be, it will be. If not, you’re probably lucky.
“Don’t forget to be respectful of your recruiter’s process. Multiple follow ups in a day or week only add to their call volume and will actually make the wait for a call back even longer.” – Brent R. TST
Every interview is an opportunity, both to get the job and to learn lessons that will help you get the next one. Write down what went well and what didn’t and apply those notes to your next call.
Don’t Stop Interviewing
No matter how well you think the call went, a job is never yours until it’s been offered to you. Keep scheduling interviews until you’ve got the job.
These are not the only do’s and don’ts for acing your next phone interview but, if you’re currently struggling in the job hunt, try mixing in some of these tips and tricks to see if they mix up your results too.
On the other hand, if you’re a technician who is already acing calls and you’re looking for a new opportunity, apply with PMG to see if our recruiters would agree.
About the Author
Josh Erickson, ReTool & Technical Solutions Associate