With fewer human resources professionals taking care of more hiring and hundreds, if not thousands of online applications, the telephone interview or “phone screen” has become ever more common as part of the job search process. But telephone interviews offer some challenges that are distinctly different from an in-person interview. Here are some tips for preparing:

  • Be ready—Don’t take a telephone interview any less seriously than you would an in-person encounter. Make sure you have practiced your pitch, run through your best stories and done your research.
  • Choose the environment—You need a quiet area where you will not be interrupted and preferably a landline phone. Bad cell service or a dead battery can be the death of an otherwise good interview.
  • Ask for clarification—Since you can’t gain information from non-verbal cues during a telephone interview, if you are clear about what the interviewer is asking, request that he or she repeat or rephrase the question. Better to answer well the second time than badly the first.
  • Speak clearly—Remember your interviewer is also at a disadvantage being on the phone. Slow down and speak expressively. Your whole personality is being conveyed by only one mode of communication—your voice.
  • Have your resume available—In an in-person interview, you can’t reference your resume for reminders, but on the phone you can have it laid out in front of you to remind you of your accomplishments.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative