Securing a job in today’s competitive market requires excellent interviewing skills. While in-person meetings allow for body language and visual cues, phone interviews present other challenges that can easily trip you up if you’re not well prepared. This guide covers some of the most common phone interview mistakes to avoid so your conversation leaves a great impression.
Lack of Preparation
Being unprepared is the #1 phone interview blunder. Without visuals to lean on, you must rely entirely on displaying knowledge verbally. Take time beforehand:
– Research the company and role thoroughly understanding their needs and culture.
– Review your resume, highlighting relevant qualifications and achievements.
– Prepare stories demonstrating experiences/skills addressing likely questions.
– Practice responses out loud and time yourself to optimize conciseness.
– Gather all needed contacts, resumes, notes, multiple phones/computers beforehand.
– Choose a quiet, private space minimizing distractions so you focus fully.
Lack of preparation leads to rambling, ums and ahs, insufficient details and other signs you’re winging it. Thorough research sets you apart from other candidates.
Distractions & Interruptions
Unless it’s an emergency, eliminate all potential interruptions during your interview. Turn off email/chat notifications, put pets in another room and let others know not to disturb you. Even minor distractions can undermine focus. Silence phones except the interview line. You want the interviewer’s undivided attention which won’t happen if kids, dogs or phones compete for yours.
Poor Posture & Mannerisms
While unseen, poor posture affects how you present yourself subconsciously. Sit tall with relaxed shoulders speaking confidently. Adopting proper posture improves voice projection, ease and confidence even over the phone. Also be aware of verbal mannerisms like “um”, “you know” and “like” that detract from impact.
Doing Other Tasks
It’s tempting to check email or surf the web during a phone interview, but avoid multitasking at all costs. Not only are you likely to miss important questions, but it conveys disinterest in the role and lack of focus. The interviewer can often hear side tasks like typing through the phone. Stay fully engaged by focusing solely on the conversation.
Lack of Enthusiasm
With no handshakes, eye contact or body language, conveying enthusiasm vocally becomes even more critical. Speak with warmth, expression and passion for the work. Enthusiasm inspires confidence that you’ll apply the same vigor on the job. Monotone, stagnant or detached voices leave a negative impression even for qualified candidates.
Rushed or Rambling Responses
Without visuals to fill space, unnecessarily long-winded or rushed answers leave a poor impression. Practice timing your responses for 1-2 minutes max keeping it concise, structured and on point. Pause thoughtfully before diving in and remain aware of sidetracking to cover all requested details. Phone interviews require heightened discipline versus face-to-face meetings.
Poor Voice Quality
Speaking clearly and loudly is as important as the words themselves. Avoid call mishaps where interviewers struggle to hear you or understand through mumbling, environment noise or vocal qualities making your voice tiring to listen to. Test call quality beforehand and speak up projecting confidence so your voice doesn’t limit judgments of your qualifications.
Forgetting to Smile
Studies show smiling during phone conversations influences tone positively. Smiling engages vocal cords producing warmer, more confident vocal delivery even if unseen. It also puts you in a more relaxed, positive mindset for thinking on your feet. Remember subtle facial expressions influence how you’re heard and perceived subconsciously.
Not Asking Questions
Interviewers expect you’ll ask pertinent questions conveying genuine interest in the opportunity and company. Have questions prepared to build rapport and glean information positioning yourself as a top choice. Questions also buy time to think through answers carefully avoiding abrupt stops to the conversation.
Not Following Up Promptly
Timely thank you notes after interviews make superb impressions. Send brief, personalized emails within 24 hours reiterating enthusiasm, summarizing your conversation and qualifications one last time. Thank the interviewer for their consideration as well as time spent discussing the opportunity. These emails often influence final decisions and open doors to continued discussion down the line.
Poor Listening Skills
Phone interviews test listening skills even more prominently than in-person. Focus intently without interruptions, repeating questions if needed until fully understood and using silent pauses thoughtfully before jumping in. Don’t be afraid of brief silence either – it allows for contemplation before responding. Active listening shows respect for the interviewer and role.
Relying on “Uh” or “Um” Too Much
These filler words may help orate in-person, but over the phone they undermine credibility. While an occasional “uh” won’t sink your chances, excessive use distracts from points and portrays lacking preparation or confidence. Practice speaking smoothly allowing silent gaps thoughtfully instead of defaulting to pauses filled with “um”.
Not Properly Articulating
Poor diction and mumbling are magnified over calls versus speaking directly. Enunciate clearly with vocal variety, avoiding sounding rehearsed or monotone which tires listeners. Practice aloud to identify patterns needing adjustment like fast speaking or excessive informality inappropriate for a professional discussion. Airtime requires tremendous vocal control and articulation.
Phone Interview Best Practices
Following these practices maximizes phone interview success:
– Choose a quiet, private call space free from disruptions.
– Have all needed materials within reach avoiding scrambling.
– Smile and sit tall to project a positive, confident energy vocally.
– Speak clearly at a natural pace varying vocal tones appropriately.
– Listen intently paraphrasing or repeating as needed.
– Ask thought-provoking questions displaying engagement.
– Thank the interviewer in a follow up email within 24 hours.
– Practice aloud obtaining feedback on fillers, pauses and delivery.
– Relax nerves by remembering your qualifications and preparation.
– Focus solely on the discussion minimizing