Phone interview tips are a must know for the remote job seeker. After all, the position you’re interviewing for is a remote one. It only makes sense the hiring process is done remotely too.
An all virtual hiring process is a great way for the hiring manager to gauge whether or not you present well remotely. That’s where phone interviews come into play. No pressure, right?
Don’t worry. Even though you won’t get a chance to meet your interviewer in person, shake hands and make a great first impression, you can still stand out with these phone interview tips for remote job seekers.
1. Do Your Company Homework
Congrats! Your resume and LinkedIn profile were optimized and you actually got a call back. Now, a remote friendly wants to interview you. It’s exciting and nerve-racking all at once.
One of the best ways to nail your phone interview is to do a little homework beforehand. First up, research the company you’re interviewing with.
You should understand what the company does, the customers it serves, and its overall mission, values, and goals. Typically, you can find all of this information on a company’s website.
Let’s look at remote-friendly company Buffer, for example.
If you scroll to the bottom of their homepage, there’s an entire “Company” section in the footer:
When you explore the “About Us” page, you will notice Buffer is quick to share its company values:
This is valuable information you need to read up on BEFORE you interview. As you read up on the company and learn more about its mission, take notes. You can use these during your phone interview.
If you can’t find much information about the company on its website. Don’t panic. Head on over to LinkedIn. Chances are they have a company profile there where you can find tons of valuable information.
Remember, an interviewer’s job is to eliminate you as a candidate. Get ahead of the game and present yourself as an ideal fit for the company’s values and cultures.
2. Set The Scene
One of the surprising phone interview tips you might not think of is preparing your space before you interview.
Even though the person interviewing you won’t see where you’re interviewing from, that doesn’t mean you should conduct a phone interview from just anywhere.
Instead, pick a quiet area that is free of distractions. Your home office is a good place. Public spaces or anywhere with lots of background noise is a definite no.
Additionally, make sure the place you pick has amazing cell phone reception. If you’re like most people, you don’t have a landline. That means you’ll rely on your cell phone to help you get a job.
There’s nothing worse than having a call cut out or be interrupted with static. This will frustrate you and your interviewer and can quickly turn a great interview into a disaster.
3. Know Who’s Calling You
There’s nothing more awkward than having a phone call with a complete stranger. That’s why you need to know who is interviewing you before you hop on a call with them.
When you schedule the interview, you’ll be given a name. Head on over to LinkedIn to scope this person out. Your objective is to find out what their role is within the company. Chances are, this person will be a recruiter or HR person. They will not be your supervisor, manager or boss.
If this is the case, you can expect a pretty basic interview. That is, they will gather general information about you to determine whether or not you have the skills and experience to fill the position.
4. Re-Read The Job Description
If you’ve launched a full on career campaign as a remote job seeker, you’ve probably applied to quite a few jobs over the weeks. You may only vaguely remember the position you’re interviewing for. And that’s okay. But don’t just leave it at that. Instead, head back to the job listing and re-read it.
Now you’ll have a refreshed idea of the job and its responsibilities. That way you can better position yourself as a good fit for the role during the phone interview. It’s also a good idea to have your remote resume available during the call. You can reference it throughout the conversation or when answering questions.
This is why it’s important to organize your job search! When you’re organized, you can quickly find jobs you’ve applied to at specific companies. All that information comes in handy when it comes time to interview.
5. Prepare Answers In Advance
Now, you won’t know which questions the interviewer is going to ask you. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare some answers ahead of time.
This is important because it can help quell any nerves you have about the phone interview and helps you avoid any long pauses or dreaded uhs and ums.
Some common phone interview questions you might get include:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What are you looking for in your next role?
- How did you find this position?
- Why are you interested in this role?
- Why did you leave your last position?
- What is your greatest strength? Weakness?
As a Certified Professional Career Coach, my best advice for answering these questions (or any questions during interviews) is be genuine.
Recruiters and hiring managers are smart. They’ve interviewed hundreds of candidates before you. They know the “common answers to interview questions” that are readily available on Google. And they simply don’t want to hear them.
So, stand out and provide a fresh answer that is anything but cookie cutter.
6. Slow Down & Stand Up
It’s human nature to speak quickly when we’re nervous. But this can spell disaster during a phone interview. Remember, your interviewer cannot look you in the eyes or read any other visual cues while you’re speaking. What you say and how you say it are the only impressions they’ll get.
So, slow down. Think about what you’re going to say and keep a steady pace. Doing so will project confidence and make the conversation flow much easier than if you sound anxious or hurried.
And one of my favorite phone interview tips that I always tell my clients: Stand up!
There’s a reason opera singers and performers stand up on stage. Voices carry and project much clearer when we stand. Give your voice (and self) a confidence boost just by standing up.
7. Follow Up During & After The Interview
Before the phone interview wraps up, be sure to ask some questions of your own. Remember, you’re interviewing them too. You want to find a remote job that fits your ideals, not just any ol’ job. Your questions don’t have to be super in-depth. Again, your first phone interview is likely a preliminary one. Now’s your chance to ask the recruiter what to expect moving forward and what the hiring process looks like.
Also, ask your interviewer if they have any more questions for you. The last thing you may want is to answer any more questions than you have to. But, asking this simple question makes you stand out as very few interviewees ask. Plus, it makes you seem engaged in the process and genuinely interested in the position.
And, don’t forget to follow up after the interview is over. You absolutely should write a thank you email to your interviewer. It doesn’t have to be long or over the top. A simple thank you for taking the time to speak to you goes a long way. It demonstrates good manners and your written communication skills — which is super important as a remote job seeker.
Phone Interview Tips For Remote Job Seekers
Phone interview tips are absolutely necessary for the remote job seeker. Remember, you won’t get a chance to meet in person for a remote position. That means you’ll be doing a TON of phone interviews as you work to kick your cubicle to the curb.
A little planning and preparation before the phone call can help you stand out as a candidate and eliminate any nerves you may have. Plus, it helps the interviewer see that you’ve come to the phone prepared.
If you need help practicing phone interview tips, send me an SOS. As a Certified Professional Career Coach I can help you ace your phone interviews so you move onto the next round.
You’ve got this!
Ashlee Anderson, CPCC