Most of our placements start with a phone interview. It’s a valid part of the screening process for both the candidate and the hiring company. For the candidate, you can easily assess if the position is one you have serious interest in without having to rearrange your schedule or make extensive travel arrangements. For the employer, they save the cost of travel and the disruption of the business, and are able to make a quick assessment of whether or not you are a good fit with the company’s long-term goals.

As such, here are a few tips to make the most of your phone interview. 

  1. Don’t “phone it in”…a phone interview is a great opportunity to make a positive first impression, so you should be prepared to do so.
  2. Double-check all the numbers and times and clarify the process. Are you supposed to call them, or are they calling you? Is it a conference call or just the office number? Make necessary adjustments if they are in another time zone.
  3. Ask about the format of the interview ahead of time. Will there be one interviewer or more?
  4. Interviewers have different styles, and this tends to be exacerbated over the phone. There’s little you can do ahead of time to determine whether the person you’ll be talking to is By-the-Book Bob or Chatty Cathy. Stay attuned to audible clues as the interview progresses and adjust your style accordingly.
  5. Find a private place to take the call that is completely free of distractions. If you’re calling from home, make sure the kids and pets are being watched. You may want to post a do-not-disturb note on your door.
  6. Be well rested and block off time before the call to compose yourself and relax.
  7. Prepare as if it were an in-person interview. Email or call in advance to be sure they have your resume on hand and inquire whether they need any additional information.
  8. Make sure it’s a two-way conversation and that you are both imparting and receiving new information. Have several questions prepared to ask at the appropriate time.
  9. Make a cheat sheet. A phone interview is a rare opportunity where they can’t see what you are doing. Make a list of topics you want to cover and conversation points to get the interview back on track if you don’t feel it’s going well.
  10. Have a glass of water at hand in case you get “dry mouth.” Use the bathroom in advance of the call.
  11. Make a sticky note to put on your computer to remind you to breathe and take your time with your answers.
  12. While there are a lot of jokes about interviewing in your pajamas, the best approach is to dress in a way that is comfortable but makes you feel confident and professional. Brush your teeth, comb your hair, and be in a mindset to have a professional conversation.
  13. Interview from a kitchen table or a desk, never a couch. Sit up straight – it will aid the quality of your voice.
  14. Speak into your handset and not a speakerphone. It improves audio quality and reduces the chance of “cut-outs.”
  15. A trick many voiceover professionals use is to smile when they speak. Smiling tightens facial muscles and unconsciously helps you have a more pleasant tone.
  16. Set aside time after the interview to send a thank you email.
  17. Don’t be afraid to ask for an in-person meeting at the end of the call. Doing so shows your genuine interest in the opportunity and a willingness to take the next step in the interview process.

If you’re looking for a better opportunity, call ETS Tech-Ops. We are in contact with companies in the Materials Science industry all across America, and might just know of the perfect opportunity for you!

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