7 ways to ruin a phone interview in seconds

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With first impressions being extremely important, phone interviews are undoubtedly an awkward time for most of us. Being worried about interrupting the other person or saying something you shouldn’t is usually on the top of our minds. 

For those who thrive on interpersonal communication and body language, an interview by phone can be intimidating and make us feel like we are handcuffed.

Luckily there is an essential phone etiquette we can master to avoid ruining a phone interview within seconds of speaking with the other party.

1. Calling in or answering late

Just as you would prepare for an in-person interview, a phone interview is no different.

You should plan on calling in at least five minutes early, so your interviewer is not forced to wait for you. Calling in late is a sure way to ruin a phone interview within seconds.

2. Sounding tired or unmotivated

The tone of your voice and the energy you bring to the conversation is essential to starting the interview off on the right foot. The inflection and tone you start a phone interview tells the evaluator your commitment and dedication to obtaining this position and what they can expect from you in the future. 

3. Failing to smile, even on the phone

Smiling while you talk can have unintended effects that can help you with a phone interview. When you smile, your voice comes across as more pleasant and friendly even though the person on the other end can’t see your face. Use this secret phone interview trick by forcing yourself to smile on the other end of the line.

4. Avoid mumbling

Because a phone interview can be intimidating, many interviewees can easily forget to focus on basic interview techniques.

Because communication is not always clear, it’s crucial to speak concisely and clearly over the phone and avoid mumbling. By talking slowly and clearly, your voice will come through louder and easier to understand.

5. Using a poor cell service

If possible, use a landline for a phone interview to avoid dropped calls or unneeded static.

Because you are being evaluated on your communication skills and ability to convey the ideas and value you will bring to the organization, a clear, uninterrupted landline is your best bet to avoid ruining a phone interview within seconds.

6. Failing to recognize your surroundings

Phone interviews are quickly turning into video interviews, and many potential employees are ruining their chances at a second interview within seconds. When you set up for a video phone interview, be sure your background and backdrop are professional, and there is nothing in the side view that would be embarrassing or detrimental to your position. 

For instance, a messy room, kitchen, dirty clothes not put away, posters with swear words, etc. can all provide a negative connotation about who you are as a person and throw up red flags to potential employers. Put your best self forward by ensuring your background is as professional as you would want others to see you.

7. Talking too much

Lastly, when people are nervous, they tend to talk more than they should. When you start a phone interview, be sure you are set with key talking points and avoid “winging it” at all costs. Stick to your talking points to avoid rambling and talking in circles.

Use these seven tips to ace your next phone interview by starting with a great first impression geared to put your best foot forward!