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After sending your resume to few potential workplaces, you are waiting for what will happen next. As part of their HR policy, some companies might prefer doing phone screening interviews before doing actual in-person interviews.

Many companies might email or text you to schedule a screening phone call, but some companies might give you a call any minute after sending your application.

So, how do you prepare for a phone interview?

Whether you have never had a phone interview or if you need some advice to improve your skills, we created these 6 tips to prepare you for a successful phone interview:

1. Research

As for any type of interview, it is important to do your homework and research the company. Look at the pages such as About Us, History, Our Team, and social media platforms to have a better understanding of what the company is about and what it offers. This way, you can learn more about the company’s history, corporate values, and prepare yourself to the potential interview questions. 

2. Prepare for potential interview questions

Compared to in-person interviews, phone interviews tend to be shorter and more direct. It is a stage when companies narrow down the list of potential candidates for the in-person interview.

So, it is critical to learn how to summarize all of your experience and skills in a timely manner.

How do you develop this skill? Practice!

Selling yourself in a less than a minute aka doing elevator pitch can help you in other network building circumstances. When the employer will ask you to tell about yourself or when they ask other questions, your answers should match with the job description and what they are looking for in the ideal candidate. Read these instructions to learn how you can develop elevator pitch for your upcoming interview.

Meanwhile, here are some common interview questions many employers tend to ask:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What were your responsibilities in your last job?
  • Why do you want this job? What are you looking for in your next job?
  • What major challenges and problems did you face in your most recent job? How did you handle them?
  • Why did you leave your previous job?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • What relevant attributes/experience do you have?
  • When can you start?
  • Do you have any questions for us?

3. Find a quiet spot

To make your interview a success, make sure that you are avoiding any distractions and noisy or crowded places. Find a quite spot in advance with a good signal or Internet service, and make sure to test your mic and volume.  Some employers might call you spontaneously – so be alert and prepared for the phone interview at any time.

4. Be an active listener

Before the interview, make sure you have your notepad, pen, and resume handy. During the interview, make sure you are listening proactively and taking notes whenever possible. This can help you formulate your questions and write a post interview thank you letter.

Although you don’t have to keep eye contact with the interviewer, but there is a certain etiquette to keep during the phone interview. Here are some techniques that can help you become a better listener:

  • Wait to disclose your opinion
  • Show empathy by disclosing similar experiences
  • Don’t be shy to ask questions for clarification
  • Disclose short verbal confirmations such as “I see”, “I understand”, “Thank you”

According to the research, people who tend to listen actively showcase following signals to the employer:

  • You are a team player
  • You are interested in the job position
  • You are interested in the company and its challenges

5. Be confident and be yourself

We all know that talking to a stranger without seeing their face might be frustrating. But with enough confidence and practice, you can easily excel at your phone interview. You can ask someone to role play to help you to get in the shoes of the interviewee.

At the end of the day, don’t forget that the company is also selling itself – so you don’t always have to pretend who you are not. 

6. Make sure to send a thank you letter

As an appreciation token, you can send a thank you letter to the interviewer(s). Although it doesn’t have to be as comprehensive as a post-interview thank you letter, it is a great way of showing your interest and standing out from your competition. Showing your confidence can also help you get noticed. You can end a thank you letter with a similar line: “Thank you again for your time and consideration, and I am looking forward to meeting you for the in-person interview”.

To sum up this article, here is a checklist for you upcoming phone screening interview:

Before the interview

  • Research the company
  • Practice your elevator pitch
  • Find a quiet spot and make sure your device is set

During the interview

  • Be an active listener
  • Be yourself and be confident
  • Ask questions

After the interview

  • Send a thank you letter

Did you find this article helpful? Make sure to read our blog post on Managing Job Interview Anxiety to learn effective techniques of managing anxiety before and during the interview.

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