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. Budgeting

    Lost Your Job? 6 Things to Do Immediately

    If you’ve lost your job, shoring up your finances as best you can will make it easier to get back on your feet again when that next position rolls around.
  2. Professionals

    Broker Or Trader: Which Career Is Right For You?

    Both brokers and traders buy and sell securities, but there are some subtle differences between the two careers.
  3. Professionals

    Financial Career Options For Professionals

    A career in finance can take a business professional down many different paths.
  4. FA

    The Basics of The Series 79 Exam

    Passing the Series 79 exam is usually necessary for anyone who wants to work in investment banking.
  5. Professionals

    10 Steps To A Career In Hedge Funds

    The first step to getting your hedge fund career started is to be sure you really want to work for a hedge fund. If you do, it’ll show in your actions.
  6. Professionals

    Business Analyst: Job Description & Average Salary

    Learn the different types of business analyst careers available; understand the skills and education needed and the salary you can expect to make.
  7. Entrepreneurship

    How To Make Money With Domain Names

    Domain names are hot commodities in today’s tech-centric world, and for good reason.
  8. Professionals

    How To Get A Job On Wall Street

    Although Wall Street has its share of problems, finding people who want to become traders isn’t one of them.
  9. Professionals

    Financial Analyst: Job Description & Average Salary

    Understand the types of career paths you can take as a financial analyst, and learn the education and skills you need to launch a career in this field.
  10. Entrepreneurship

    Top Resume Strategies For New Grads In Finance

    Your resume is the key to getting that first great job out of college. Here’s how to get it noticed.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Does a financial advisor need an MBA?

    Obtaining a license as a financial adviser does not require an Master's of Business Administration (MBA) degree. The Certified ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. 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 >>
  3. 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 >>
  4. 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 >>
  5. 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 >>
  6. 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 >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  2. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  3. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  4. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
  5. Ponzimonium

    After Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme was revealed, many new (smaller-scale) Ponzi schemers became exposed. Ponzimonium ...
  6. Quarterly Earnings Report

    A quarterly filing made by public companies to report their performance. Included in earnings reports are items such as net ...
Trading Center