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5 Helpful Tips Before You Take That Phone Interview

I’ll grab a cup of coffee and answer a few questions for the interviewer while relaxing in my jammies… may not be a good strategy. Phone interviews are as important, if not MORE important, than an in-person interview. For many companies this is an easy way to quickly gauge your interest and skill level in order to be part of their team. From a phone interview a lot can be determined simply by the tone in your voice, the answers you provide to the questions, and the environment in which you are located. It’s your first step to the next step – Want an in person interview? Take the phone interview seriously.

1 - Be honest from the beginning. 
If the interview timing doesn’t work simply ask for other options. If something unexpected happens in the background of the call, briefly explain it. Even if the questions (previous work history, firing, drug screening, salary, etc.) are uncomfortable answer honestly. Being dishonest to get through to the next round only wastes time for both you and the employer and adds frustration and awkwardness to the relationship. Honesty up front is always appreciated. 

2 - Be thoughtful, thorough, and concise. 
Focus. Listen. Respond. Use the abbreviation CAR, C: Circumstance, A: Action, R: Result, to clearly communicate your answers. When providing your answer speak to your strengths in relationship to the qualifications of the job and be comfortable and confident with your background and skills. Don’t be afraid to ask for a moment to gather your thoughts. Provide a clear and concise response with a positive tone of voice.  

3 - Be prepared. 
Be on top of the details from beginning to end. Confirm the date, time, and caller for the interview. Ensure a quiet private space to focus. Do company research ahead of time. Take notes while the interviewer is speaking. Be ready for common interview questions: Relocation? Travel? What interests you in this job? How soon can you start? Salary? Company culture? Why are you looking to make a career change? And be prepared with questions of your own. You want to be fully confident in your next career move, so don’t be afraid to ask follow up questions. This also displays an increased level of focus, interest, and excitement in the position which companies will note. 

4 – Don’t be rude.
Be aware of the little things that are distracting and distasteful. Don’t chew gum, interrupt, be sidetracked, or in a noisy environment. Any one of these things can quickly be noted in a phone interview and will likely affect the overall tone of the meeting. 

5 - Be polite.
Follow up is key. After the interview quickly shoot a thank you note to your contact being appreciative of their time, list any follow up questions, and ask about expected next steps. Do it quickly so they understand your level of excitement and interest. 


A Few Tips on How to Interview While Employed

Looking for a career change while already employed? Tricky to balance, huh? Interviewing for that next step in your career is equally as important as finishing well in your current position. Know that employed job candidates appear to be stronger than unemployed candidates, so continuing your job while working on your next step is very important. However, that does not discount how overwhelming and frustrating it can be to constantly sneak around and make excuses to attend that mid-day interview. This does not need to be the case. Here are a few tips to assist you in what seems like an impossible, yet necessary, task.

1) Be Vague

Not everybody needs to know your business. Be vague about any out of office engagement you have so that your attendance isn't questioned right away.  No details are needed. The phrase "I have an appointment" can mean several different things. This phrase allows you to easily be excused from work without many questions and without the guilt of lying. Keep it vague. 

2) Take Time Off

Yeah well, this doesn't sound like the most appealing option does it? However, it may be the necessary choice to advance your career to the next level. Taking a 'personal/vacation' day allows you to fully prepare for the interview without the stress of your day to day job getting in the way. It also allows for complete privacy and no time constraints while attending the interview. While this option may seem like a 'waste', it is the safest option to avoid curiosity from your current employer and to prepare, interview, and debrief without distractions. Just take the day off. 

3) Interview During 'Off' Work Hours

Schedule your interviews strategically. Interviewing earlier in the day or later after work peaks less interest in your work attendance. Another option is always over your lunch break. Be aware of time constraints this can put on you if you have a scheduled lunch break or current work meetings that may affect your interview schedule. This choice may not be the easiest to pull off, but all it takes one 'off hour' to make a break through with a new employer. 

4) Request a Phone Interview Initially

Employers know schedules are crazy. They don't want to waste your time or their own. Phone interviews are usually an initial step to the interview process. If a phone interview isn't suggested the first time, request one as an option. If the phone interview is the way you go, be sure to secure a private location and time where your boss and coworkers cannot hear, and ongoing distractions will not be present. For the first interview, the phone is the way to go!

5) Bring a Change of Clothes

Many offices do not require business formal wear. However, it is important to dress the part while interviewing. This can cause an interesting predicament that can easily give you away. To avoid drawing attention at work dressed in something unusual, pack your suit and change before your interview. 

Interviewing for a new position while currently employed is not wrong, but there is a right way to do it. Remember, people move on for all different reasons. Nevertheless, it's important to be honest and lead with integrity through the transition time. Hopefully these extra tips will ease your conscious and help you feel confident in your career search!


Join us on October 24th for an online Career Search Webinar!

We are offering an affordable opportunity to get ahead on your next job search. 

Throughout this 45 minute session you will learn how to:

  • set up a job search plan based on your individual criteria
  • narrow down your list of top employers
  • network
  • make the most of your application process, etc.

After the session a Red Envelope team member will reach out to you for a 1:1 follow up call.


October 24th | 10am, 2pm, 7pm | Via video conference

Cost:    $49 Early Bird Registration Rate (before October 14th)

$59 Registration Rate (after October 14th)

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