Ohio University Office of Career Services


Career Fair Follow-up: Preparing for a Phone Interview by Christy R

Following the career fair, many of you can expect to be taking the next step in the hiring process:  interviewing. This may start with a phone interview or an invitation to an on-site interview. Sometimes a recruiter will conduct a phone interview simply to ask a few clarifying questions in their attempt to narrow down the pool of job applicants. Other times they prefer to conduct an entire 60-minute interview over the phone.

When preparing for a phone interview, many of the techniques for face-to-face interviews still apply, but a few additional tips are helpful:

1. Be Ready.
You might not know beforehand the exact time the interviewer is going to call. Have your résumé and notes on the organization handy to refer to during the interview. This is one benefit a phone interview gives you—the opportunity to use a “cheat sheet” during the interview. Use this to your advantage!

2. Eliminate distractions.
Find a quiet place away from other people or noisy pets. Turn off call waiting. Close applications on your computer. If there are other people around you, be sure they know not to interrupt! Avoid chewing gum, eating, or smoking.

3. Speak out.
Standing up actually makes your voice stronger. Also, smile! Even though the person interviewing you cannot see you, your facial expression comes through in the tone of your voice. Enunciate your words clearly and avoid awkward fillers like “um,” “er,” “you know,” etc. One last suggestion: Nerves tend to dry up the voice, so taking occasional sips of water throughout the interview will keep your throat relaxed and open.

4. Give short answers.
It’s easy to talk too much when you’re nervous. Only talk enough to answer the question, then allow a moment of silence to let the interviewer know that it’s their turn to talk.

These tips can help give you a feeling of confidence when conducting an interview. For more tips on conducting a traditional interview, view our previous post, “Interview Etiquette: Tips To Successfully Navigate a Job Interview.” Also consider participating in our Mock Interview program where you can practice both face-to-face and telephone interviews, and receive valuable feedback from the interviewer. For more information about this program, and to sign up, visit www.ohio.edu/careers.

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