The Art of the Phone Interview

by Susan Mullin

4 tips for mastering the first-stage phone interview for a DC marketing and communications job

candidate on their phone interview with a pen and paper

You’re looking into marketing and communications jobs. You’ve done your research, you’ve perfected your resume, and you’ve received a call for a phone interview – congratulations! But now what?

Many candidates are unsure what to expect from a phone interview or how they should prepare. TorchLight’s candidate interview process begins with a 30-minute initial phone call to assess your basic professional qualifications, communication style, salary expectations, and more. This is often the first of several steps for recruiters trying to refine their candidate pool before bringing marketing and communications job candidates for in-person interviews. To help you get ready, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you master your phone interview, whether it’s with another party or us:

Be prepared

During the phone interview, be sure to have a copy of the same resume you submitted initially, and a pen and paper handy. You will likely need to walk through your job history so that the recruiter can get a sense of your career path and fit for the role. Also, be prepared to talk about specific examples of accomplishments you have made.

Questions to consider:

  • Why did you make this or that choice of career direction?
  • Why did you make a lateral move, or how did you get that promotion?
  • What about those short job stints or gaps between jobs?

Show your personality

The phone interview is more than a question-and-answer session. Interviewing over the phone can be difficult, but this is the first chance to let your personality shine through and demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively about your experience. Be sure to speak slowly and concisely while showing enthusiasm and interest in the role. This can be reflected through your tone of voice. One method that works is to try smiling while you talk to boost your energy.

Anticipate tough questions

Candidates are often uncomfortable answering questions about salary history or gaps between jobs, but the more straightforward you can be with your answers, the more likely you will nail your phone interview and find the right fit for your next job.

Control your phone interview environment

Always arrange to be in a quiet place, free from distractions. (That means no screaming children, no howling dogs and no noisy co-workers in the background. Also, no driving in the car.) Sit in a chair with relevant materials easily in front of you. Give your focused attention to your interviewer, and whenever possible, make sure you are on a landline rather than a potentially spotty cell phone connection.

Also, always remember to thank your interviewer at the end of the call—and then immediately follow up with a written thank-you.

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Posted in , Interview Tips