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If a prospective employer likes your resume, he or she will likely arrange to interview you. Increasingly, that interview will be conducted by phone.

Phone interviews are a double-edged sword for the person being interviewed. They can be easier for you because you don’t need to travel to another location and they allow you to take notes in a way that face-to-face interviews don’t. However, body language can be difficult to read if you can’t see who’s on the other end.

The basic rules about preparing for an interview are the same whether the interview is conducted in person or by phone. But there are key differences about your conduct before, during, and after the interview that can make your phone interview more successful. Seven of these are explained below. In the next issue, we will cover Skype interviews.

Use a landline. If you are using a cellphone, the quality of your reception — and theirs — may vary. Using a landline increases the chances that you can clearly hear their questions and they can clearly hear your answers.

Use your cellphone effectively. If you must use a cell phone, avoid background noise. For example, avoid being interviewed when you are shopping or walking the dog. If you receive a call from an interviewer while you are in such a place, check the caller’s number and, if the call is from an interviewer, let the call go to message and follow up later.

Dress up, stand up, and smile. Even though the interviewer can’t see you, you are more likely to feel “businesslike” if you are dressed up, rather than wearing pajamas. Also, your voice will sound better if you are standing up and smiling.

Avoid interruptions. Make sure that other people — and pets — will not barge into the room where you are being interviewed. Similarly, make sure that your noisy washer and drier, people in another room, and outside music will not be heard during the interview.

Have materials at hand. You can spread any materials you may need in front of you, such as the job description, your resume, letters of recommendation, and your notes about the company. (You can’t do this in an in-person interview.)

Use short, crisp answers. Because you can’t observe the interviewers’ body language, for example, to see whether they are fidgeting, use shorter answers than during an in-person interview. In answering any question, try to craft an answer that lasts no more than a minute and a half, then ask whether they would like to hear more.

Find out who is on the other end. If more than one person is interviewing you, at the outset, try to get each person’s name (and note their distinctive voice) and email each of them a thank you note.

For further reading:

Allison Matthews, “Phone Interview Tips: 19 Keys to Landing a Second Interview,” Dec. 9, 2016.

Lisa Rangel, “Executive Phone Interview? 10 Important Techniques to Land the Offer,” Oct. 23, 2015.

Caroline Ceniza-Levine, “How to Ace Your Next Phone Interview,” Dec. 2, 2014.

Rhona Bronson, “Why Not to Pick Up the Phone When Unemployed,” May 16, 2014.

By David Marwick for KempMillJobAssist