With summer quickly approaching, many students are looking for internships and preparing for interviews. The interview process can be really scary and intimidating, and preparing for one can be just as stressful. You’ve made it this far, now you just have to kill the interview and you’ve landed the position! Seems simple enough, right?
But what about an over-the-phone interview? How do you prepare for one? How do you show your personality over the phone? I had an over-the-phone interview last week, here are 10 tips and things I wish I had done to prepare:
1. Be positive about the specifics
Are you calling the interviewer or are they calling you? What time, what day? It’s important to be organized so you don’t get caught off guard with a phone call when you’re not expecting it or miss your interview completely.
2. Make notes beforehand
The great thing about an over-the-phone interview is that you can have notes and other information in front of you. In an in-person interview, having a ton of loose papers would look totally unprofessional and sloppy, but over-the-phone, your interviewer can’t see them! Think of questions that might pertain to the position you’re applying for and have some good talking points listed out. Print your resume, cover letter and other application information so you can double check yourself and stay consistent.
3. Dress the part
Just because your interviewer can’t see you, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it just as seriously as an in-person interview. More than likely, your interview will be during business hours, so you should be dressed for the day anyway, but be sure you’re dressed like you deserve the position. Just because they can’t see you doesn’t mean you should slack off.
4. Scout a location beforehand
Because this is an over-the-phone interview, there’s no set location where it will take place. Be sure you have someplace in mind before the day of your interview. Think it through. Your dorm room might not be the best place to have a clear head and focus on the interview. You might disrupt people in a library, people might disrupt you in a study lounge or student union. Consider booking a private study lounge or space that’s quiet and private.
5. Show your personality
You can’t see your interviewer and they can’t see you, so it’s important to make sure you’re showing them some of your personality over the phone. Be unique. Use personal stories to answer their cookie-cutter questions. They can’t see you, so you have to make you personality shine over-the-phone, which is much easier said than done.
6. Take notes
Often in an in-person interview, the interviewer will make a note if there’s anything they want you to send them or any additional information they need after the interview is over. In an over-the-phone situation, they wouldn’t be able to do that. Make sure you’re jotting things down as they come up. This will ensure you're avidly listening and paying attention to what the interviewer is saying. Taking notes will not only keep you organized for after the interview and your next steps, but it will help you keep up with the conversation and remember things you want to mention later on.
7. Keep a glass of water handy
Interviews require a lot of talking! Be sure you keep some water nearby, but avoid drinking when it at inappropriate times. Avoid eating and chewing gum for the entirety of the interview.
8. Smile! Talk!
The excitement you have during the conversation will show in the tone of your voice. And the more excitement you have, the more your interviewer will be able to tell how seriously you want this position. Avoid answering questions with a simple yes, no or typical answer. Let your personality show by telling personal stories and giving thoughtful answers.
9. Have questions to ask your interviewer
This goes back to your seriousness about the internship or job opportunity. Asking questions, even as simple as asking to know a little more about the atmosphere of the organization or business, shows your interviewer that you care about making sure this is the right place for you. Be sure to at least ask when you should expect to hear back from them or what your next steps should be.
10. Stay relaxed and take your time
No one expects you to have an answer right off the bat, especially to some of the more difficult questions. Take a second to collect your thoughts in your head before just spitting out something random or too simple. Show you’ve put some thought into your answer and know what you’re trying to express.
There are 10 tip to an over-the-phone interview, some of which pertain to an in-person interview as well. All in all, be sure you’re confident and prepared. Show your personality even though you’re not showing your face, and be sure to be yourself.