Four steps to acing a phone interview

Want more expert advice? Bailo’s new book, “The Essential Phone Interview Handbook,” is available now.

This seemingly simple chat is anything but. Paul Bailo, CEO of Phone Interview Pro, on how to make it through the toughest type of interview.

1. Take advantage of your home court

“A phone interview is like an open-book test — have everything in front of you,” says Bailo of your resume and any written questions you have for the hiring manager. “The other thing we tell people is to go on LinkedIn and have a picture of the person interviewing you in front of you. It brings it down to a more personal, human level.”

2. Put down your cell phone

It doesn’t so much matter where you do the interview as what you do it on: namely, on a designated landline. “Some people feel comfortable on their office phone, some people feel more comfortable in the kitchen. But no cell phone,” says Bailo. “People who are looking for a job need to have a Batphone. And that phone number is only given out to people who are looking to interview you.”

3. Be yourself

“The No. 1 problem is: People aren’t themselves on phone interviews. They try to be someone they’re not,” says Bailo.
This is especially harmful, because the person on the other end doesn’t have any other way to relate to you. Accents, he notes, can work in your favor, because they create a point of interest for the person on the other end of the line.

“With the phone interview, you lose 80 percent of your communication. All your social cues are gone. They only thing you have to work with is your voice. What you say, how you say it, all matter,” Bailo says.

4. Play hard to get

Interviewing, unfortunately, is a lot like dating. “Don’t pick up the phone on the first ring. For a scheduled phone interview, the second or third ring is safe. But if you miss the fourth ring, let it go to the answering machine. By the fourth, they’re not happy with you. Give them 30 seconds, then call them back with a business explanation. Now, they’ve switched modes and they’ll appreciate you calling them back.”



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