7 Ways to Nail the Phone Interview
In some ways, a phone interview is easier than a person-to-person interview. You don’t have to commute to an office, and there’s no need to put on a suit. If you’d like, you can do the interview in your pajamas! At the same time, what you say takes on extra significance in a phone interview because the interviewer is totally focused on listening to you. Make the most of this interview format with the following tips.
1. Introduce yourself professionally
At an in-person interview, you can put your best foot forward through professional attire and positive body language, but in a phone interview the introduction is your chance to make a good first impression. Say hello, and introduce yourself with your full name. Tell the interviewer that you appreciate their time and that you’re looking forward to answering their questions.
2. Use the interviewer’s name
Using the interviewer’s name shows that you give personalized attention to whomever you’re speaking with and suggests that you’ll bring that personalized approach to a guest service setting. At the start of the interview, pay attention to how the interviewer introduces himself or herself, including pronunciation and whether he or she uses an abbreviation or nickname. Write that name down on a notepad so you can remind yourself to use it throughout the conversation.
When you use the interviewer’s name, don’t just say the name and launch straight into your answer. Instead, say a sentence or two acknowledging or reacting to the question. For example, you might say, “Julia, I agree that computer skills are important! The software programs I have experience with are…” or, “I’m glad you mentioned my internship, Mike, because that prepared me really well for my first job in a hotel. My day-to-day responsibilities were…” This makes the conversation flow more naturally and emphasizes that you’re listening to and thinking about the questions.
3. Ask for clarifications
Your answers should directly address the questions posed by the interviewer. This shows that you’re careful about details and can give an accurate, helpful response, qualities that employers want to see from anyone working with guests. If you’re not sure you understand what the interviewer means by a question, ask for clarification. Don’t proceed with a vague answer that might not be on-target.
4. Ask your own questions
A friendly, engaging personality is a great asset in a hospitality setting. Demonstrate that you can be outgoing by asking your own questions and helping to guide the flow of the interview. Jump in with a question when there’s a lull in the conversation, or bring up a question after you’ve answered one from the interviewer. Your goal is to give the call a natural, back-and-forth feel rather than to wait passively for the interviewer to lead the entire session.
5. Keep your resume in front of you
An advantage of phone interviews over in-person interviews is that you can look at a cheat sheet without it being noticeable to the interviewer. That’s a good way to remind yourself to mention a few top qualifications or an area of expertise. Before your interview, circle or highlight three things on your resume that you want to make sure to bring up. Then, look at your resume when you’re faced with an open-ended question, and use it as a reminder to talk about your best qualities. Keeping a resume in front of you also helps in case the interviewer refers to a specific section or mentions a detail that you don’t remember off the top of your head; when that happens, it’s easy to look at your resume and refresh your memory.
6. Avoid verbal tics
Obviously, an interviewer can’t see you over the phone. That means he or she is extra aware of your voice and what you say. As a result, habits like saying “um” or “you know” or sounds like clearing your throat are a lot more noticeable in a phone interview. Avoid using filler words and sounds if possible. When you need to think for a second, just pause. Don’t try to immediately fill the silence with an “um” or “ah.”
7. Thank the interviewer
A phone interview can’t conclude with a handshake and a smile or any other visual gestures. Thus, verbally wrapping up the interview in a pleasant way is extra important. Thank the interviewer in a sincere and positive tone. For example, you could say, “Thank you for taking the time to talk with me and tell me about the role. I’m really excited about the work your team is doing, and I’d love to contribute to it.”