6 Tips for Acing Your Next Phone Interview
With the unemployment rate for Hispanics falling pretty quickly in the last few months, the atmosphere for many Hispanic job applicants is more hopeful than it has been in recent memory. If you’re shooting out résumés with the best of them, you may be nervous about potential interviews.
In the interest of time, employers sometimes prefer to conduct their interviews over the phone, particularly for the first round of questions. Whether you’ve just graduated from college, have spent some time on the unemployment line, or are just looking for a career change, we have six tips to help you ace your next phone interview so that you can find the job of your dreams:
1. Print out your résumé
It’s a good idea to have a copy of your résumé right in front of you. Things like dates and even contact names can be difficult to remember when you’re in the midst of interview stress. Print the copy of the exact résumé you sent to the company, along with your cover letter if you wrote one. Then, make some notes on your résumé about a few points you’d like to make during the interview.
2. Be connected online
Having an internet connection and a quiet keyboard during your phone interview can give you a leg up. Open one browser window to the company’s website, so you can find information off-the-cuff if needed. Use another window for a search engine in case you need additional information. Just be sure you type quietly enough that the interviewers can’t hear your clacking – they won’t be pleased if they don’t have your full attention.
3. Cut out the background noise
Place and time are absolutely key to a successful phone interview. Ideally, you’ll want to interview at home so that you aren’t advertising to your employer that you’re seeking other jobs. But even at home, distractions can be abundant. So try to schedule the interview for a time when no one is around, and lock yourself in a quiet room away from everyone in your home, including pets. Also, consider making the call on a landline if at all possible, since this cuts down on the possibility of feedback or a bad phone connection.
4. Write down your biggest accomplishments – and mention them
In the group-centered Hispanic and Latino culture, says the organization LatPro, we often have trouble talking about our own accomplishments. But traditional American companies are more receptive to potential employees who talk up the greatest things they have achieved. Accomplishments are something to be proud of, and your phone interview won’t be successful unless you pat yourself on the back a bit. The easiest way to be sure you work your most important professional accomplishments and accolades into the conversation is to write them down beforehand.
5. Be direct
One other Hispanic culture idiosyncrasy is the tendency to communicate in a roundabout way. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this in itself, but the habit will hold you back in expressing yourself clearly over the phone to someone you haven’t yet met. This phone call may be your only chance to win over the potential employer. So it’s important to communicate directly; get to the point. You may want to practice talking this way with others, as it may feel rude or awkward to you at first.
6. Send a thank you note or email
As soon as your phone interview is over, take the time to send an email to the interviewer. Be direct again. If the next step is to get a face-to-face interview, or a second phone interview, then ask for one. You can make yourself stand out from the crowd of other interviewees by thanking the interviewer for his or her time and then asking for the outcome you desire next.
Interviewing on the phone may seem even worse than interviewing in person for many reasons. Maybe you don’t like talking on the phone in general, or maybe you have very little experience with these types of interviews. But by following these six tips, you can really stand out, and improve your chances of getting the next interview in person.