How to prepare for a phone interview

Turning a phone screen into a job interview

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prepare phone interview

Job interviews look slightly different given today’s conditions. But one procedure still remains the same—the phone interview. First interviews are typically conducted over the phone and are usually a 15-20 minute conversation between you and the interviewer to discuss your resume. It’s an opportunity to go over the basics of the position you’re interviewing for to see if you are a potential fit. The goal of the phone interview isn’t to get the offer, but to get a formal interview with the hiring manager. The best way to ensure you ace the phone screen is to prepare. Here’s how to do it.

Before the phone interview

Make a list of questions the interviewer is likely to ask and prepare your responses. Some typical questions the interviewer may ask are:

  • Can you tell me a little bit about your background and how it relates to this position?
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • Why are you searching for a new job?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • What is your availability for an interview in the next week – 10 days?
  • If we offered you this position, when would you be available to start?

Re-read the job description and prepare specific examples of your experience that relate to the responsibilities and qualifications of the position. Remember, this is a 15-20 minute call, so keep your examples relevant and concise.

Decide where you will take the call. Make sure the space is quiet, with minimal background noise, so you can eliminate any distractions and focus on the conversation.

During the call

Actively listen to the interviewer. As they provide additional information about the role, adjust your prepared responses as needed.

Write down the moments that make you think “this job is perfect for me.” Reference one in your thank you note to give the interviewer an after-the-fact reminder of why you’re a great candidate. The rest will give you talking points for the in-person/video interview.

After the phone interview

Follow up the same way you would for a regular interview. Thank the interviewer for their time, reaffirm your interest in the position, and let them know you look forward to being able to sit down in person or on a video call to discuss the opportunity further.

Katy Davis

Katy Davis

Katy is responsible for supporting LibGig's recruiting department and recruiting for library and information management positions in the legal, federal, media, corporate, and academic sectors.
Katy Davis
Katy Davis

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