7 Tips for Acing Your Phone Interview
In the healthcare profession, and in most occupations actually, phone interviews have become the norm for hiring managers. They not only save time but are a good way to efficiently get through a group of candidates and form a first impression based on how a person sounds and what they say. Hiring managers will tell you that they can glean a lot about a person based on how they perform in a phone interview. Knowing that, here are several tips to make sure you ace your phone interview.
1. Treat the phone interview just as you would an in-person interview. The easiest way to screw up a phone interview is by taking it lightly. All interviews are important and the best way to prepare for them are to be organized and professional. You don’t have to put on a suit or your best interview dress, but that isn’t a bad idea either. Whatever you can do to put yourself in the proper frame of mind will help you sound the part over the phone.
2. Do some homework before the interview. One of the easiest ways to impress a hiring manager over the phone is to be prepared. Spend time before the call and anticipate what types of questions you might get about your experiences. Also, based on the type of clinical job you are applying for, think about your skill set and how it may apply to the open position. It always helps to have some notes written down about things you want the interviewer to know about you, so they don’t slip your mind in the “heat of the moment.”
3. Keep your resume handy during the call. Most people will bring an up-to-date copy of their resume to a job interview. Phone interviews are no different. Having your resume in front of you during the phone interview will ensure that you are able to remember and discuss the document that the hiring manager is looking at. Unlike an in-person interview, the hiring manager won’t be able to see you referring to your resume or your notes when discussing specific job skills or experience.
4. Interview the interviewer. As part of the previously discussed homework, make sure you have a question or three for the interviewer. If you are asked, “Do you have any questions for me?” and your response is “No, I’m good.” The chances are you’ve just blown the interview. Having questions demonstrates your real interest in the position. It shows that you have put some thought into the interview and that you are prepared. For example, ask the interviewer about the nurse turnover rate to get a sense of what you are walking into, or even ask about the facility parking situation so you can prepare for additional expenses.
5. Express enthusiasm and a positive attitude. While this tip goes for any interview, it is even more important for a phone interview because the hiring manager can’t see you. Even though you are on the phone, smile as you talk and be sure to project enthusiasm and confidence with your voice. It is also important that you don’t dwell on negatives from a previous job or work environment. If you are asked a question about something that is a potential red flag from your past, be direct and honest about it, but avoid dwelling on it. End your answer with a statement about what you learned from the experience.
6. Be environmentally conscious. No, do not hug a tree during the phone interview, but do make sure you have set up your environment to be entirely free from distraction and external noise. If you have a home office, use it. If not, find a quiet place where you have a landline or a great cell signal and no ambient noise. Never multi-task during a phone interview, this includes chewing gum, smoking, or checking your Facebook page.
7. Send a thank you note. This may sound old-fashioned, but after any interview, you should send a thank you note or even an email to each person who was involved in the interview. Simply express your gratitude that they took the time to interview you and express your continued interest in the position. Send the note within 48 hours of the interview to make the best impression.
As you may have noticed, we didn’t present any new or earth-shattering information here. Successful interviews require preparation, confidence, and common sense. Hopefully, we have given you a few things to think about before your next phone interview. If you would like to share your tips for acing a phone interview, leave us a note in the comment section below or share your tips on our Facebook page.
Sandra Daley RN, MSN, CCM, CRN
I do not agree on sending thank you notes after an interview. A simple gracious thank you is sufficient. When I interviewed I did not expect a thank you note. Thank you notes received by me had no bearing if I hired someone. Handwritten thank you notes were recycled and those sent by email were deleted. Thank you notes are needless and were not beneficial to me.