By Anneke Knot When you’re job hunting, phone interviews may seem a whole lot less intimidating than going into an actual office. After all, you could be lying in your bed in your PJs and no one would know the difference! But don’t get too comfortable—that also means you can’t fall back on your positive body language or charming smile, and you can’t watch your interviewer’s facial expressions for clues to how you’re doing. Luckily, these experts are sharing their best tips for convincing your interviewer that you’re ready for the next step in the hiring process.
Be prepared. “If you’re applying for this job but you don’t know anything about it, how interested are you really?“ asks Tira Urquhart, fashion market assistant at Cosmopolitan. Obviously, you don’t want your interviewer thinking that about you, so make sure to complete thorough research ahead of time by browsing the company’s website, and—if you’re applying to a magazine—reading several back issues. “One question I always ask is, ‘What’s your favorite Cosmo cover?'” says Urquhart. “If you love the magazine, you should be able to answer that.”
While this advice obviously stands for any interview, phoners give you the luxury of privacy—so take advantage of it! During the call, have your notes at hand so you don’t forget any important details or questions.
Take it seriously. “A phone interview may feel less formal than a regular interview, but you should treat it more formally because you don’t have the opportunity to actually go in and show who you are,” says Ann Wang, accessories assistant at Cosmopolitan. Urquhart agrees, admitting that she treats the phone interview like a screening process to see who deserves an in-person meeting. Bottom line: You might be conducting this interview from your bed, but your interviewer shouldn’t be able to tell.
Focus, focus, focus. “You would be surprised how many people I can hear typing in the background during phone interviews,” says Samantha Roman, associate market editor at Good Housekeeping. Yikes! Your interviewer should always have your full attention, no matter how busy you are. Roman adds: “Also, don’t drive during the interview. If nothing else, it’s dangerous.”
Be enthusiastic. Any interviewer needs to know that you want the job, and unfortunately, phone interviews make that harder to get across. “Pretend you’re speaking with the person face-to-face,” suggests Audree López, a fashion stylist and blogger. “I use my hands a lot while speaking, so on the phone, I act naturally to make sure I sound excited and interested while we’re speaking.” Wang adds, “Your tone and your excitement are important. You can hear in someone’s voice how badly they want the job.”
Anneke Knot is a style blogger, writer and fashion assistant living in Manhattan. She got her start interning at Redbook magazine her senior year of college. She now is a fashion assistant at Hearst Women’s Lifestyle Hub which includes magazines like Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and Woman’s Day. If you want to track her literal every move, check out her Instagram @annekeknot or follow her blog Knot Couture.