Your Phone Interview Cheat Sheet for Success

Phone interviews are becoming a nearly ubiquitous piece of the job seeking process. Even though they’re becoming more common, they can still be intimidating. With the right amount of preparation, though, you’ll be one step closer to getting a new job.

In this article, we detail some essential phone interview tips and strategies on how best to answer common interview questions. Plus, we’ll provide you with a downloadable phone interview cheat sheet to help you prepare for your next interview.

Phone Interview Tips

1. AVOID NOISE

Before your interview, secure a secluded space with minimal distractions. In a quiet spot, you’ll be able to focus, and both you and the interviewer will be able to hear each other clearly.

2. RESEARCH THE COMPANY

According to a survey from Glassdoor, 88 percent of hiring managers believe that a quality candidate is informed on the company and the open position. That means a little time spent researching beforehand can go a long way toward you getting the job.

3. READ THE JOB POSTING MORE THAN ONCE

The job posting is like a wish list from the company and outlines key skills and preferences it is looking for in candidates. Use the job description to determine which of your skills and experiences to highlight.

4. SPEAK CLEARLY

In a phone interview, it is crucial for you to speak clearly because your interviewer can’t use visual cues or body language to fully understand you. Don’t be afraid to pause after a question is asked so you can collect your thoughts, and slow down if you feel you’re speaking too quickly.

5. DRESS UP

A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology observed that well-dressed participants in a mock buying and selling exercise secured more profits and made fewer concessions than the participants who wore casual clothing. This research proves that the old adage “dress for success” may have some truth to it after all.

6. BE ENGAGING

Find common ground with your interviewers and chat for a bit. Making a personal connection could resonate with them. They may not remember all the candidates, but they will likely remember someone who went to their college or also loves their favorite author.

7. GIVE CONCISE ANSWERS

Most phone interviews are short and don’t leave a lot of time to say everything you want. Strategize ahead of time on what your most important talking points could be. Distill your applicable experience and professional goals into short soundbites.

8. BE PREPARED

Have your résumé, the job description and our downloadable phone interview cheat sheet at your fingertips so you’ll be able to respond with perfectly-crafted answers without having to scramble.

9. ASK QUESTIONS

Preparing questions for the interviewer shows you’re serious about the job. These questions can be about the company overall, things the job description didn’t mention, or you can ask about the next steps in the hiring process.

FREE PHONE INTERVIEW CHEAT SHEET

Download our free phone interview cheat sheet. Be sure to fill in the blanks ahead of time and be prepared!

Download Cheat Sheet

Tips for Answering Interview Questions

In an interview, the questions are rarely as straightforward as they seem. Below, we’ll analyze typical questions and break down how to answer them.

WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES AND STRENGTHS?

In the past, the best way to answer this question was to spin your negatives as a positive. Now, that answer comes across as unimaginative. Hiring managers instead prefer you discuss a time when you struggled professionally and what steps you took to overcome that challenge. Addressing shortcomings demonstrates that you’re adaptable, determined and motivated.

When considering your strengths, refer to the job description. By focusing on specific, job-related strengths, you can make a memorable impression with your interviewer.

WHEN DID YOU GO ABOVE AND BEYOND?

Interviews ask this question to learn if you’re someone who is willing to take on leadership roles or extra responsibility. It’s not necessarily how you solved the problem, but that you were the one to solve it.

WHY YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A NEW JOB?

This question isn’t an opportunity to criticize your current or previous employer. Consider whether that position had avenues for personal or professional growth, or whether you’re looking for a bigger challenge.

Raising Your Stock as a Candidate

If you’ve struggled to make it to the phone interview stage in the past, one way to boost your credentials is through furthering your education. With St. Ambrose’s flexible online Bachelor of Business Administration degree, you’ll learn key leadership, communication and organizational skills to impress hiring managers. Plus, with transfer credits, our program can be completed in as few as 18 months.

Take your professional goals further with our online MBA. Designed for working adults like you, you can earn this degree in as few as 14 months.

Photo via St. Ambrose University

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