May 7, 2021

The world of work has changed forever, thanks to the pandemic. If you’re currently looking for a job, you’ll know some of the challenges both job seekers and employers are facing. Zoom calls and telephone conversations have replaced face-to-face interviews. While phone interviews have always been used, they’ve become even more essential during COVID-19.

It’s harder to make that all-important first impression through a phone call, but it’s not impossible. Employers use phone interviews as a way of narrowing down their list of candidates. Those who are shortlisted have the potential for a face-to-face or Zoom interview. Getting your phone interview right can help you get your foot on the employment ladder.

At Achēv, we’ve been hearing from the first-hand experiences of members in our community who are going through the interview process. Located across the Greater Toronto Area, our employment centres can help you find and maintain a meaningful job. Read on to learn our nine top tips for phone interviews to help you with your job search.

1. Don’t Underestimate Its Importance

One mistake job hunters make is by not taking their phone interview as seriously as a face-to-face meeting or Zoom call. Impressing during your phone interview can help you land a spot on the shortlist, or you might even be offered the job right away. Most employers use phone interviews as a way of narrowing down their list and eliminating applications. Every step in the process is important and shouldn’t be shrugged off as ‘just’ a phone interview.

Our employment services are here to help you through the interview process. We can answer your questions and help you understand what happens at each stage of the employment cycle.

2. Research the Company

One golden rule for anyone looking for employment at a company is to do your research. You want to show the interviewer that you have a genuine interest in their company. Some people fall short by being too generic during their job search. They send the same cover letter and resume to every company and give the same answer to similar questions. Interviewers are aware of this and want to see candidates who have done their research and have a genuine interest in working within their company.

3. Listen to Your Interviewer

Your communication skills are even more important in a phone interview. One danger with a phone interview is that you don’t get the same visual signals that the interviewer is about to speak. It’s easy for people to talk over each other on a phone call. These incidences are even more common during a phone interview when you’re naturally feeling nervous. Take a deep breath and wait until the interviewer has finished speaking before you start. Showing that you can listen and give a meaningful response will show the interviewer that you have the communication skills they’re looking for.

 4. Speak Slowly

Another thing you want to consider is to speak slowly. Phone connections are now always reliable, with your voice naturally becoming more muffled than in real life. You want to compensate for this by speaking slower to make sure the interviewer can hear you clearly.

5. Have Flash Cards

One benefit of a phone interview is that the interviewer can’t see you. Nothing is stopping you from having a cheat sheet of potential answers or points you want to raise. If you’re using this job search tip, you don’t want to rely on your cheat sheet too heavily. You want to glance over it to refresh your memory instead of reading directly from the sheet. It’s a backup for when you need a prompt to answer a question. Flashcards can help you organize the information and separate everything, so it’s easier to find what you need.

6. Get Rid of Distractions

We’re all guilty of getting distracted when we’re on the phone. It might be a notification flashing up on your desktop or a neighbour walking past the window. Avoid any distractions by finding a relatively empty room and sit away from a window. If you’re sitting at a desk or table, keep it clear to avoid fidgeting with anything that might be laying around.

7. Do a Practice Interview

If you’re someone who prefers to text instead of calling, it’s a good idea to have some practice on the phone. Ask a family member or friend to call you to conduct a mock phone interview. The main challenge posed by phone interviews is that you can often become too comfortable and feel like you’re talking to a friend instead of a potential employer. A practice interview will prepare you for having to remain professional throughout your interview. It’s also an opportunity to identify any issues with your speech. You might be someone who adds a few too many ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ to their sentences. Having a test run can make you mindful of what to avoid doing or saying during your actual interview.

8. Use a Landline Phone Instead of  Your Cell

While it’s not possible for everyone, a landline can be more reliable than your cell phone. You won’t have to worry about someone else trying to call you and cutting into your interview.

9. Follow-Up with a Thank You Email

Finish off your interview by sending a thank you email to the interviewer. If you don’t have their specific email address, you can send a message back to your contact or the HR department at the organization. Sending a follow-up message can leave a lasting impression on the interviewer and show them your professionalism. If you’re short-listed with other candidates, it can be something as simple as a thank-you email that sets you apart from the competition. Don’t underestimate the importance of smaller acts to boost your employment potential.

At Achēv, we offer free and personalized Employment Ontario services to help people of all backgrounds achieve their employment and career goals. We have employment centres located across the Greater Toronto Area, including Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga and North York. Our employment centres are a one-stop-shop for anyone on their job search journey or thinking about their career options. Contact us today to register for our free employment services!

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