It's common practice for companies to narrow down their search for a new employee by interviewing candidates over the phone. There are many similarities to the in-person interview like preparing ahead of time and speaking professionally and clearly. However, there are a few points unique to the phone interview – and following them could mean the difference between a job offer and heading back to the employment drawing board. (For some advice on the traditional interview, check out Taking The Lead In The Interview Dance.)

IN PICTURES: 7 Interview Don'ts

1. Background Noise
Make sure the only thing the interviewer can hear is the sound of your extra-professional voice. This means choosing a location that is quiet – notably one free of traffic noise, screaming children, TV background sound and anything else that would be distracting. Also, make sure you aren't wearing earrings that might knock against the phone or jingle near it.

Make sure you don't chew gum, smoke or eat during the conversation. If you are worried about having a dry mouth, keep a glass of drink water handy but make sure you only drink if necessary and at opportune moments.

2. Know The Company
Whether the interview is in-person or over the phone, it pays to do your research about your potential employer. Knowing about the company will not only help you to ask more informed questions, it will help you tailor your responses to highlight the most appropriate characteristics for the job.

At the very least, be sure to check out the company's website and get a good sense of what they do, who works for them and their position in their field. You should also be familiar with the job description and any requirements the job posting mentioned. Be ready to demonstrate how well you fill those requirements with specific examples. (For more, check out Dating And Job Hunting: The Same Skills Apply.)

3. Have Your Resume On-Hand
While you probably know your own work history pretty well, having your resume in front of you will ensure you get the dates and any contact names that may come up. It will also come in handy if you get nervous – having your resume handy will help keep your nerves steady, or at least provide a back up if you forget some of the details.

Although you've likely already done so if you have been applying to jobs, make sure your resume is up to date and includes all relevant information for your previous jobs, education and references. (For some resume don'ts, check out 10 Resume Red Flags.)

4. Prepare Notes
Each interview will no doubt have a unique set of questions. However, you can be pretty certain some standard questions will show up in some form. Prepare your answers ahead of time and you'll be able to give them some thought. Consider the following questions:

  • What do you consider your greatest strength?
  • What do you consider your greatest weakness?
  • What specific examples demonstrate your ability to handle this job?
  • Describe a situation where you solved a problem with a coworker or client.

5. Breathe
Since the only interaction you have with your interviewer at this stage is through your voice, make sure you speak clearly, slowly (but not too slow!) and professionally. You (and your voice) should be engaged and enthusiastic. Don't feel like you have to fill every silence – take a moment to gather your thoughts after you are asked a question to make sure your answer is the best one you can possibly give.

The Bottom Line
Interviews can be stressful, but taking a few simple steps to prepare yourself will help you stay relaxed and confident. Put yourself in a comfortable environment – and remember, while dressing up may help get you into the job-seeking mood, your prospective employer will never know if you are curled up on the couch in your Snuggie. (To learn more, see 7 Things You Should Say In An Interview.)

Catch up on your financial news; read Water Cooler Finance: Goldman Fined, Financial Fixes And Apple's "Apology".

Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    How To Get That Entry-Level Financial Analyst Job

    Landing a job as a financial analyst takes study, strategy and a lot of hard work. Here's how to hone your competitive edge.
  2. Personal Finance

    Does It Make Sense to Go to College in Europe?

    If you're deciding whether to get a degree abroad, first do your research and talk to alumni who have completed the same program.
  3. Professionals

    Small RIAs: How to Level the Playing Field

    In order to compete with larger firms, small RIAs have to get a little creative. Here are a few ways to kickstart growth.
  4. Taxes

    Top Tips for Minimizing Taxes on Severance Pay

    A look at the top ways to lessen the tax burden on severance pay.
  5. Retirement

    These Are the Top Jobs for Retirees

    Learn some of the best jobs available for retirees who want to stay busy. These include retail, driving, call center work and tutoring.
  6. Personal Finance

    8 Profitable Majors For The College-Bound In 2015

    Choose your college major wisely to justify the rising cost of higher education. Here are 8 majors that lead to good jobs and high salaries.
  7. Professionals

    Scholar vs. Entrepreneur: What's Your Calling?

    You don't need a bachelor's degree to launch your own company. But which path — school or entrepreneurship — offers a better start to your work life?
  8. Personal Finance

    8 Reasons Why Valued Employees Quit

    Salaries are important, but retaining top employees requires more than just providing competitive pay.
  9. Professionals

    How Advisors Can Minimize Their Own Risks

    Risk management is important in any enterprise. But when it comes to the financial advisory business, the stakes are higher.
  10. Personal Finance

    Top 5 Ways to Retain Your Best Employees

    You need to think beyond salary to make the most talented people want to stay on for the long term.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

    A federal law designed to ensure equal pay for all workers, regardless ...
  2. Age Discrimination In Employment ...

    A federal statute protecting "certain applicants and employees" ...
  3. Society of Actuaries (SOA)

    The SOA is a professional organization for actuaries in the U.S., ...
  4. Networking

    A process that fosters the exchange of information and ideas ...
  5. Credit Business Associate - CBA

    A designation awarded to those who show mastery in financial ...
  6. Always Be Closing - ABC

    Retail jargon used to describe a sales strategy in which a salesperson ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. How can an investment banker switch to a career in corporate finance?

    It's pretty easy for an investment banker to switch to a career in corporate finance. The career skills are easily transferable, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How do I get started with a career in asset management?

    The asset management industry has a variety of different career paths. Depending on what asset management area you would ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. For which kind of jobs is having Magnum Cum Laude most important?

    Having a magna cum laude degree is most important for jobs in the fields of finance, management consulting and engineering. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Other than accounting, what does a corporate finance job involve?

    While a corporate finance job almost always involves accounting in some capacity, there are many additional job duties and ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are some common questions an interviewer may ask during an interview for a position ...

    When interviewing for a job at an investment bank, a candidate is likely to answer questions about his career and education ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What qualities are necessary to be an effective member of the c-suite in a publicly-traded ...

    Several qualities are needed to be a member of the c-suite of a publicly traded company. The c-suite is business jargon term ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!