Barbara Safani wrote an excellent article titled 10 Tips to Mastering the Phone Interview. Here are my favorite tips from her list:
Conduct interviews from a land line.
Interviewers frequently judge your communication skills based on poor cell phone reception (albeit incorrectly). If you’re planning to do a phone interview from your cell phone, do a test call with a friend first. They can tell you whether you should make the extra effort to do the phone interview on a land line. And a special note: even if you can’t find a landline, a VoIP solution such as Skype may offer better call quality than your cell phone.
Put a mirror in front of you.
Read Paul Ekman’s groundbreaking book, Emotions Revealed
. You’ll find that facial expressions convey emotions, and listeners can easily detect emotions on the phone. Smile during your phone interview, and you’ll convey enthusiasm. A mirror can you help you monitor whether you are indeed smiling.
Have your notes in front of you.
The one benefit of a phone interview: you can refer to your notes — and no one will know you’re looking at them. Don’t be shy about using notes.
Barbara’s advice around practice is spot on. I’ve quoted it here:
Record some of your answers to prospective interview questions. Play them back and critique yourself. Are you easy to understand? Are you talking too fast? Is your presentation riddled with long pauses and “ums?” Do you communicate interest and enthusiasm? If necessary, rework your answers and your overall presentation