Preparing for a phone interview is like preparing for a regular job interview, minus pants. You already know to research the company, to revamp your resume, and to be generally charming and irresistible. However, a phone interview requires some more preparation than you realize. Here are the five most common phone interview mistakes and how to prevent them.
1. A gruff greeting. Trust me, I hate getting calls from unknown numbers, but if you’re job hunting, you need to always answer the phone warmly and politely, even if it ends up being a jerk overseas in a tax scheme. Be a dick after you find out it’s a scammer.
2. Being on the road. You should never have to wait around at home for a phone call from anyone, but if you have a call scheduled, at least be sure that you’re somewhere quiet enough to have a conversation and where you’ll have access to any files you may need for the interview.
3. Not knowing what job for which you’re interviewing. If you’re job hunting, it’s common to apply to multiple jobs, sometimes within the same company. For the love of God, at least know what company you’re talking to when the rep calls, okay? Give them that much.
4. Rambling. Without seeing someone in the flesh, it can be easy to miss visual and body language cues (like stacking papers, standing up) to wrap it up. If you feel yourself getting out of breath, chances are you’re talking too much.
5. Yelling. There’s a woman in my office whose phone conversations, for whatever reason, have a decibel level rivaling JFK Airport tarmacs. It’s not cute. Yes, they can hear you now, and they can hear you in Tokyo. Use your inside voice unless the caller specifically says they’re hard of hearing.