These days almost all first interviews happen over the phone, even if you’re applying for a role in the same city. It is time saving and convenient for the companies and for you as well, but makes it harder to make a good first impression.
A large proportion of our communication and personality is non-verbal, and this is lost if you’re having a phone interview. However, it can be helped if you follow a few easy steps.
1) Optimal environment
Make sure you have an optimal environment, somewhere quiet, with good phone reception and somewhere you won’t be disturbed. I suggest using a hands-free set for the call — you will hear your interviewer better and have your hands free to make notes.
It’s also worth making sure your phone is fully charged.
2) Know your interviewer
You should research the people you are speaking with by looking at their profiles on professional networking sites or Googleing them, so you can “get to know” the people you are speaking with, and they won’t be just be voices.
This should give you more confidence, and they won’t seem like total strangers.
3) Have your CV at hand
It is also advised to print out your CV and have it next to you; this will help you answer questions about you past projects.
The interviewer will most likely have a copy with them, and it's typical to “grill” one's CV during the first conversation. Having your CV next to you will give extra confidence as well as a reference point.
4) Give precise and tangible answers
Since you’re losing non-verbal communication tools, you need to make sure your verbal ones make up for it. When asked questions try to give precise and tangible answers.
When someone is leading a team of 2 or 15, they are both called a Team Leader, but the level of experience is very different. You need to remember this and give concise information in your answers.
If faced with a YES or NO questions, always answer with a full sentence. Believe me, you don’t want to sound like if your were speaking in Morse code: YES, YES, NO, NO NO, YES, etc.
If you’re not sure what the question was or you didn’t hear it well, don’t be shy to ask them to repeat or to explain the question.
5) Research the company
You need to do your research on the company. It is crucial you know the company, have read what is available in the media regarding them and understand their business.