Have you ever found yourself networking, at a career-fair, or virtual event where you stumble into a last-minute, spontaneous opportunity to hop on a networking call or interview? If so, we know the nerves that come with late preparation and are here to ensure you have the tools necessary to always be on your toes and ready to take advantage of an opportunity that comes your way.

Let’s set up the scene: You’ve received the call and set up a time for your upcoming phone interview. Now what? As recruiters who prepare our candidates for interviews on a daily basis, we’re here to point out the strategies we find most beneficial for you!

Always Be Prepared…

  • Always, always be ready and available! In reality, if you are unprepared at the time of your interview, it is unlikely that you will be able to justify this inconvenience in your interviewer’s time. Write your scheduled time down on post-its, set reminders, and allow yourself at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time to wait for the call.
  • Set up Your Environment: Eliminate all potential background noise, whether this is the footsteps of others walking around you, keyboard clicks (take notes on paper!), children, or any other distraction that your interviewer will be able to hear through the phone. This will help you to understand the questions and maintain focus, while also asserting the engagement of your interviewer.
  • Your Greatest Advantage, Note-taking! Arguably the greatest benefit of a phone interview (which is the way that almost all interviews are currently taking place!) is the fact that your interviewer cannot see your face or actions. Take advantage of this opportunity! You should, at the very least, have a sheet of potential questions prepared, as well as a note sheet about company information, values, goals, job responsibilities, and anything else relative to your position. Your interviewer most likely expects that you have this on hand, and for that reason will expect you to be aware and prepared.
    • Extra Tip: This also includes having a copy of your resume on hand!
  • Let Them Lead the Way: A specific challenge regarding phone call conversations is the tendency to intervene, or begin answering a question out of eagerness. However, be sure to allow your interviewer to lead the conversation and finish their sentences before you begin speaking.
  • Tone, Pace, and Enunciation: Pay extra attention to the way in which you will be perceived! Especially due the the fact that you’re unable to showcase a smile and body language through a phone (although this is absolutely possible over video), it is crucial that you maintain awareness of sounding positive, smiling!!, and enunciating each word so as to be as clear as possible in your statements.
  • Practice Makes Perfect! We encourage you to conduct a “mock” phone interview with a friend, family member, or even through a voicemail or voice memo. This is a great way to evaluate your tone, use of “um,” “like,” or other filler words that cause you to sound nervous or shaky, and implement improvements before the real deal!
  • Remember…even the most impromptu interviews could lead to your dream job. Thank your interviewer, prepare questions, introduce yourself and keep a running tab of your key information (strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, etc.), talk slowly and confidently, and make sure to ask for a moment if you need one!

The most important component of an interview is achieving a positive first impression! Following these strategies will also you to do so in no time.

Searching for a new position? Check out our open jobs list!

Looking for more? Read our article about selling yourself and first impressions!