7 Phone Interview Mistakes Most People Make & How to Avoid Them

Posted on Posted in Career Advice, Interview Coaching

Most interviews are in-person and require you to be at your best and smile and have perfect body language but when it comes to a phone interview which is less formal, you can dress how you want and do it at the comfort of your house. But have you ever stopped to wonder how that informal interview is prone to mistakes?

Most times a phone interview may be the first interaction between you and your employer so make a great impression by avoiding the following mistakes that job seekers commonly make.

1. Poor Phone Etiquette
It is important that your voice conveys authority and confidence. Speak up and use an even and low tone especially when making responses. Many young job speakers pick up a phone call with “sasa” not knowing who is calling. Pick up your cell phone with a simple hello. It helps in building professionalism.

Mobile service providers have the ring back tone service. It reveals the kind of person you are. It may be funny but it can work against you. For example “ nakwambia ungoje kidogo tu nitashika simu…” It may be funny to your peers but to the employer make you appear like a very busy person. A custom made one is good.

2. Appearing Distracted.
A phone interview is important and being distracted shows the employer that you are uninterested. Distractions make it hard to give good responses because you are not concentrating.

Have your Interview in a private quiet space with no background noise. For example if you are in a noisy place say a bus station you can tell your employer “would you mind if I call you back? I am in a noisy place” then find a convenient place free of distractions.

3. Poor Communication Skills.
Phone interviews are purely verbal and poor communication skills can make you lose the job. Speaking incoherently and filling up the interview with “pardon please” is wrong. Be sure to pay undivided attention and be audible enough. Since the employer has no idea of what you look like it is important that you show confidence in your voice and respond comprehensively.

Try standing during the interview and dress well; you may feel and sound more confident and animated.

It may be harder to pick up subtle nuances over the phone so you need to pay extra attention to what’s being asked of you and attempt to decipher and reciprocate the mood being set by the interviewer.

4. Failure to Have Your CV, Cover Letter, or Other Documents with You.
Even if you have notes on the organization and position, ensure you have your documents with you. This is very vital because you may be required to explain something that is not on the CV or the employer may want you to walk them through your CV. If you have not crammed it then it will be hard for you to do it without your CV.

5. Not Doing enough Research.
Being prepared before the phone interview and doing your research on the company and the job description beforehand is vital.

Make sure you find out in advance exactly who will be interviewing you and how long the interview will last. A little research into the company and the people will make for a more relaxed interview experience.
The best thing about a phone interview is that you can refer to these notes while speaking to the employer. Phone interviews measure your ability to comprehend and it is important that you do your research.

6. Not knowing when to keep quiet

Remember, if you ramble on for too long, the interviewer will become easily distracted by their computer screen or by what’s going on out the window, so try to keep your answers to under one minute.

7. Not asking what happens next

Many interviewees hang up at the end of a phone interview without knowing where they stand. It is better to sign off by telling your interviewer that you are very interested in the position and by asking, what is the next stage?

Review these tips to make sure your phone interviews get you to the next step in the hiring process.


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