You may feel like a phone interview is a pleasant opportunity for the interviewer not to see you relaxing in your pajamas, but although the PJs are fine, you might want to still maintain as much professionalism as possible. Phone interviews are used as a way of screening potential job candidates and narrowing down the pool of applicants who will be invited for an actual in-person interview. In the midst of your job search, be sure you are prepared not only for a face to face interview, but for an over-the-phone interview as well.
Here are some tips to ace your next phone interview:
There's no harm in rehearsing your impending interview. Have a friend call you and proceed with random professional questions to get yourself in the right mind frame from early.
Make sure you write down the date and time of your interview in a personal calendar, so that you can ensure that you will be ready without any hesitation. Be sure to have your resume and the job description out and in front of you during the call. It would be a good idea to have these items printed out beforehand. You wouldn't want to pull up this stuff during the phone call and risk the interviewer hearing you clicking away at your laptop's keyboard!
Use a landline
You don't want to risk getting disconnected due to a weak signal or sound low/choppy because of a bad cell phone connection. Receiving (or making) the call from a landline will leave room for less misinterpretation and cuts the odds of a disconnection to a minimum.
Silence is Golden
The background silence, of course. Limit as much background noise as possible. Noise, whether it's the TV, radio or screaming child can be a distraction to you, as well as the interviewer. Saying, "Excuse me?" or "Can you repeat that?" to the person interviewing you, may even cut the interview short, which will definitely thwart your chances.
Don't Say "Hello?"
Allow me to explain. If you are expecting a phone call for an interview, act like you are expecting it. Here's an example to clarify what I mean:
Interviewer: "Hi is this Ann?"
Ann: "Yes, it is."
Interviewer: "Hi this is Bob White from Interview Inc."
Ann: "Oh, hi!"
Interviewer: "Hi... I was calling for your phone interview. I assume this is a good time to talk...?"
Example 1 is filled with awkward pauses and a lengthy introduction. As innocent as Ann may have sounded, she sounded like she didn't even remember she had an interview. Your interviewer doesn't have time to waste and might very well be annoyed before he/she even begins asking questions!
Here's a second example:
Ann: "Hello, Ann Smith speaking."
Interviewer: "Hi Ann, this is Bob White from Interview Inc."
Ann: "Hi Mr. White; I was expecting your call. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today!"
We have a winner! Example 2 is short, straight-forward, and lacks time for awkward pauses. The introduction is professional and the interview will appreciate that no time was wasted.
Be Professional in your PJs
Laying down for a phone interview might allow you to feel a bit too relaxed. Also, when it's time for you to fetch your resume or the job description, your nonchalant grunt while you sit up might cause the interview to arch an eyebrow on the other end. Try sitting at a desk with your materials in front of you; you'll be less tempted to put your head on your pillow.