So you are thinking that in the days of Zoom, FaceTime and Skype you don’t need to prepare phone interviews. Well you would be wrong if that is how you are thinking. Phone interviews still matter and this article on 10 Ways to ACE phone interviews still has valuable tips.
Why are phone interviews still being used?
First, you probably recognize why phone meetings with recruiters are being used right now. The big reason is that phone interviews lower costs. So do Zoom, FaceTime and Skype but those video tools probably take a little bit more commitment than a recruiter is willing to do at first, if all they want to do is a phone screening. There is all this new information emerging about how emotionally draining these virtual tools like Zoom can be. As a HR professional, I can guarantee you that I don’t want to spend time with a candidate in a face-to-face meeting, even if it is via video, when a phone interview or phone screening could be just as effective. Bottom line is that phone interviews save recruiters time and money and they are not going away!
During phone interviews
The three things that you should be most aware of during the phone interview are your tone, clarity and energy. If you understand these three things, it can really improve your chances of engaging successfully in a phone interview.
1. Energy – Have you ever talked to someone who might start of enthusiastically in a conversation but then their energy just fades away? Recruiters can hear that on the phone. Plan and prepare to stay high energy from beginning to end of a phone interview. Ask if you can schedule your phone interview in the afternoon or evening if you are not a morning person. Also, pay attention to nutrition. A lack of energy can definitely be the result of not eating, crashing after a sugary meal or just general tiredness from stress. Remember that if you sound tired and low energy, the recruiter might think that is how you really are all the time. If there is any type of disability that could interfere with a recruiter’s perception of you, think about how to bring it up in conversation.
2. Tone – Remember that when you are on the phone the recruiters can’s ee your body language. Research at the University of Texas says that 60-90% of communication is unspoken. This means that we can say a lot without saying a word. In the phone interview, words are all you have and so try to limit sarcasm or negativity since you cannot “read” the interviewer. Keep a positive outlook and speak in a professional and courteous manner. Make sure you are in a quiet location so you can focus on leaving a professional impression with the recruiter. Think about how what you say could be interpreted as angry if you are talking about a former boss or impatient if you are trying to squeeze this phone interview in during a break on your current job.
3. Clarity – Phone interviews require that you listen carefully to the questions that you are being asked. It is really easy for job seekers to go off on a tangent answering the wrong question. It happened to me once. I was several seconds into my response when I thought to myself – Is that what they asked? If the interview were face to face, a quick gesture could abort the wrong answer, but because you are on the phone, you can’t look for any of these visual cues. You don’t want to waste time going down the wrong road so make sure you have a clear understanding of what is being asked. If you feel your answer sounds muddled, it probably does. Stop, say to your interviewer – “I don’t think I am putting this the best way possible, so let me start again.” Most recruiters will respect you for trying to focus on clarity in your response.
It doesn’t matter what kind of job you are trying to land with the phone interview, just know that energy, tone and clarity are details that need your attention.