Phone Interview: Make A Good Impression

Companies rely on phone interviews to determine if they'd like to move forward with an in person meeting. With so much riding on a 30 minute call, do you know how to make the best of it?

Learning how to make a good impression on phone interviews is crucial to a successful job search.  And, while it may seem like interviewing over the phone is a no brainer, phone interviews are often more difficult to master because you can't see the person you are talking with.

Over the phone it's not possible to measure your success by watching for subtle clues like body language and facial expressions. Because you're not with the person face to face, you have to work even harder to ensure you're delivering your message professionally.

To help you make a positive impression, I'm sharing 4 tips you need to master if you want to land that coveted in person meeting!

Control Your Environment

Environment on a phone interview is critical. Create a professional environment for your call with zero distractions for you and the interviewer.

  • Don't have kids or dogs in the background. A barking dog or crying child is a distraction and will cause you to appear unprofessional.
  • Don't take the call from a coffee shop or other public location; background noise will be incredibly high. Choose a location that is quiet and free of any distractions. A conference room at the office works great. Your car is even an option if you do not have access to an otherwise private location.
  • If you have no other choice, and take your call from a less than ideal location, begin the conversation by  explaining to the interviewer why they may hear background noise. Most hiring managers will understand if travel issues, or meetings outside of your control, may require that you to take the call from a less than ideal location. But, an explanation will show you understand the call is important and your professionalism won't be questioned.

Use Your Mute Button

I know you've sat on a conference call with terrible feedback from an unmuted line. No matter how many times someone says "mute your line", inevitably someone leaves their line open and the remainder of the group to listens to annoying feedback. Don't make this mistake during an interview, especially when you know background noise may be an issue.

  • Muting your line is highly recommended if you're in your car. Even if you're not driving during the call, road noise and passing emergency sirens come through loud and clear.
  • Mute your line if you're a heavy breather.
  • Mute your line if you are not in a 100% secure location. You do not want to risk someone walking in and talking while you are on your phone interview.
  • Remember to keep you finger at the ready to unmute when it's your turn to speak. Nothing's worse than thinking you're talking to the interviewer, only to find out they can't hear you.

Have A Clear Phone Connection

If you take the call from a cell, or a VOIP connection, ensure you have a solid phone connection.

  • Prior to the interview, call a friend from the location you plan to take your phone interview from to ensure you're not breaking up or echoing.
  • Avoid taking the call from your cell if you're in a large building where reception may be unreliable.
  • Begin the call by letting the interviewer know you're on your cell and ask if they can hear you. Ask for a call back number in case you get disconnected or your call gets dropped.

Remember, a  30-40 minute phone call is not a lot of time to talk with a potential employer. If it's difficult to hear you, or you have distractions in the background, it's very likely an interviewer will be turned off and will feel you didn’t take time to make adequate preparation for your phone interview. Don't risk being eliminated by silly things that could have been easily avoided. Take steps to ensure you have zero distractions for your call and you'll definitely make a good impression on your next phone interview!

Need More Interview Help

Our team of Industry Certified Career Coaches have sat in hiring seats within your industry and understand what makes a candidate a must hire during an interview. Tap us to help you build an interview strategy which includes understanding what questions to ask, how to follow up after your interview and how to effectively close out a job interview. Your career is too important to blindly feel your way through. Let an expert help. Get Started Now!

About The Author

Carter is our resident coffee junkie and a member of our sales and marketing resume team. Having spent most of his professional career in sales management, Carter leans on his professional expertise to create unique, accomplishment based resumes that speak to the demands of hiring managers and current market trends. If you’d like to simplify your career, follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter to get updates on careers, job search and resume best practices!