Once you submit your resume for that job opening you want, one of the first things employers might implement is a phone interview. Phone interviews are an efficient way for employers to complete an initial screening with their applicant pool in a short period of time. Their goal is to see if you meet certain requirements and are a potential good fit for the organization.

 How do phone & sit-down interviews differ?

It can be hard not communicating face-to-face and not be able to read body language but it can also work towards your advantage. With a phone interview, you can ensure you have all of your information accessible to ensure you present yourself in the most polished way. It is important to know who is the interviewer, as the recruiter or HR rep can be more general but the hiring manager conversation will be more detailed and specific. Ask for their title when you set up the interview to ensure you come prepared properly.

How to prepare?

Make sure your voice is calm, confident, and conversational. It may benefit for you to dress like you would for a face to face interview to create a comfortable setting for you. Perhaps practice with a family member or friend to get focused and ready to talk to someone via the phone. Be sure to be friendly and courteous letting them finish their sentences before you answer. Do homework on the company, job and interviewer and write notes that you want to bring up during the interview. Lastly, be sure to be in a quiet place with no distractions.

The Interview questions:

“Tell me about yourself”- limit your answer to a few highlights about your career and relevance to the job. Be prepared with your elevator pitch.

“What interest you about this job”? – Completing your homework before the interview will help you answer this question. Explain goals you want to achieve from the job or mention something you like about the company. Highlight how your skillset perfectly aligns with the company’s goals, mission and values. The more specific you are the better.

“Tell me about your current/most recent job”- Employers are most interested in your experiences that align with the job you desire and not your daily tasks.  The more specific you can be, the better. Highlighting key responsibilities you held that are essential with this employer will win you recognition with the employer.

“Why are you leaving your job”? – Part of phone interviews is weeding out people who don’t fit the company’s culture. They want to be sure you aren’t a risk and able to work with the team. Don’t focus on why you are displeased at your current job, but emphasize your goals for the new job and how they align.

Phone interviews are not the main interview in the process, but it is the first step in the process leave a positive impression that you are a top candidate to move forward in the interview process.

For more tips on interviewing check out our Jobseeker Interview Tips Page.