Congratulations, you have a phone interview scheduled for your dream job! Many companies use phone interviews as a precursor to a traditional interview. Below are three steps you can take to ACE your phone interview and increase your chances of being called in for a face-to-face one.

Answer Questions Ahead of Time

Starting a few days before the interview, research the company and the position you are applying for. The company’s website is a good place to start. Pay attention to how they present themselves, as well as their mission statement. You should also make notes about their priorities, goals, and primary clientele.

Once you have a solid grasp on the company, print out and answer the most commonly asked interview questions, including:

  • What is your greatest opportunity?

  • What is your greatest strength?

  • What can you tell me about yourself?

  • Why should we hire you?

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

  • Why did you leave your last job?

  • Why do you want to work here?

While you should always be honest, it helps to customize your answers for the company to which you are applying, using the information you found on the website. You should also prepare a list of questions for the interviewer as well. This shows that you are interested in the position and establishes you as a competitive candidate.

Create a Portfolio

Print out a portfolio to work from when the interviewer calls. This should include the job description, resume, answers to interview questions, and notes about the company. Keep this in front of you during the call, so you will be prepared to answer any questions that might be asked.

If possible, you should also prepare a STAR document for relevant situations listed in your resume. STAR, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result, is an approach for summarizing problem-solving skills. The situation represents the problem at hand and task references the available solutions. The last two parts discuss the action you chose and the result of that action. These are particularly helpful if your interviewer asks about a challenge you faced in the past and how you approached it.

Establish Yourself as the Best Candidate

While a phone interview is less formal than a face-to-face, you should still approach it similarly. Make sure you schedule at least 30 minutes for the interview, in case the interviewer is late or it runs long. Some interviewers will call a few minutes early to try to catch candidates off guard, so it is wise to be ready at least five minutes before the call is scheduled to take place.

You should also take steps to ensure that your environment is conducive to an interview. Having a reliable phone line is key and a land line is preferred to a cell phone. Make sure the area is quiet and free from background noise, such as children or pets. It is also smart to dress in the manner you would for a face-to-face interview, as you will be more likely to feel—and sound—confident and prepared.

During the interview itself, try to smile as much as possible. It may sound silly, but smiling naturally makes you sound more positive, which in turn gives the interviewer a better impression of you. Matching the interviewer’s pace and tone will make you seem friendlier. Finally, be respectful and open during the call.

The phone interview is an increasingly important part of the hiring process. Remembering the three steps above will help you to ACE the interview and solidify your spot as a prime choice for the job. And as always, our team here at Evolution Coaching would be happy to help you prepare and practice further! We offer Interview Coaching that can give you the edge you need to land the face-to-face interview for the job of your dreams!