Phone Interview Tips

In today's world of Skype, instant messaging and smart phones, a simple telephone phone interview might seem old-fashioned. But if you're applying for a job or internship in another city and can't fly out to make the interview, some employers will still want to hear your voice and may have to conduct interviews on the go, as they're swamped with other commitments as well. Even if you don't consider yourself a good phone person, phone interviews do give you some advantage. You don't have to dress up or even take a shower, although a groggy voice will give away the fact that you overslept or stayed out too late even if the bags under your eyes are under wraps. Another benefit is that if most interviews are being conducted in person, the very fact that you're the phone interview applicant means you'll stand out. It's true that meeting in person might leave a stronger impression, but however you're able to set yourself apart, take advantage of it.

When I studied abroad in Paris during a semester my junior year, I found out about a summer job working at my school's publishing office, back in Texas. The position would carry through to the school year and was in line with what I wanted to do after college, so I asked the editors if they were willing to conduct a phone interview if we could set up a good time. They agreed, and while I do not consider myself a phone person (I'm terrified of awkward silences on the phone), it was easy and kind of fun. They e-mailed me a few things they would be asking me, and asked for a resume that they could print out to reference during the interview. I came up with some extra practice questions myself and made notes about my experience, my goals and why I would be a good fit for the job. I practiced my answers a few times so that they would sound natural, but once I got on the phone for the interview, I was able to use my cheat sheet if I got nervous or tongue-tied.

You won't have to worry about eye contact or your handshake during a phone interview, but things like inflection, tone, and articulation become even more important. Come up with a non-cheesy ice breaker or two, and take a breath before dialing.

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