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6 Tips to Ace a Phone Interview

In today’s fast-paced economy, many employers are now opting for initial phone screenings of potential candidates as opposed to an in-person interview. This added step allows companies to sort through candidates without committing to the expense and time required for on-site meetings. It also requires an entirely different set of interview skills on the part of candidates, whose assets are suddenly condensed to their voice, tone, and personality.

If you’re searching for a new job, chances are you will experience at least one phone screening. As with any interview, you’ll need to bring your A-game if you’re going to land the job. We’ve compiled all of the tips you need in order to ace your next phone interview.

1. Don’t Wing It

Often, phone interviews are conducted by human resources employees who are trained to determine quickly whether you meet the basic job requirements, and make initial judgments about personality, temperament, communication style, and salary expectations. Therefore, although they are usually less than half an hour long, they can yield a wealth of information to the screener.

That is why it is so important to take the proper time to prepare (see below). If a screener calls you and asks whether you are available now for a phone interview, it is always in your best interest to let the interviewer know that you are not in a place to speak freely, but would love to schedule a call within the next week.

2. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

As with any interview, you should prepare by exhaustively researching the company and position you are applying to. You should also prepare to answer detailed questions about your work history and qualifications. Be sure you are able to address any significant gaps in your employment history, and can justify every career move. Know every bullet point of your qualifications so that you can go into detail when asked. Be sure your phone is charged and you have plenty of time if the interview goes longer than anticipated.

And, as a final step, search for a photo of the person you will be speaking to online (LinkedIn may come in handy here). You will feel more comfortable in your responses if you can visualize who you are speaking to.

3. Act Like They Can See You

While it may be tempting to conduct an interview in your pajamas, you’re much more likely to feel and sound professional if you look the part. Put on professional clothing that makes you feel comfortable and confident, brush your teeth, and get your game face on. Be sure that all sounds and distractions – televisions, pets, traffic noises – are accounted for and eliminated before the call.

And don’t forget to smile! Any customer service representative can tell you that smiles can be heard and felt regardless of whether the person you’re speaking to can see you. It will be much harder to sound tense, nervous, or uncertain if you have a smile on your face.

4. Act Like They Can’t See You

Now that you’ve covered the basics, take advantage of the fact that your screener will not, in fact, be able to see you. Get up and walk around – you’re more likely to sound prepared and confident if you are standing than if you are sitting. Compile all of your notes, your résumé, and your application in one place so that you can reference them easily during the interview. To eliminate the sound of paper shuffling, you can even tape your paperwork at eye level.

5. Request Next Steps & Contact Information

Before you hang up, be sure to ask your screener what the next steps will be, and when you can expect someone to follow up with you. Then, be sure to request your screener’s contact information (email and phone) so that you can complete the next step below.

6. Follow Up

Even if it’s “just a phone interview,” you should still follow up with a written thank you note to your interviewer within 24-48 hours. Be sure to express your gratitude for the opportunity to discuss the position in detail, and summarize what you spoke about on the phone. If you want to sound especially clever, include a short blurb and a link to an article about a recent occurrence at the company that you found during your research.

The 5 Small Résumé Mistakes That Are Keeping You from Getting Hired

Even as the finance and accounting industry comes to rely more heavily on technology, the old-fashioned paper résumé remains a central component of the hiring process. We all know what to avoid – the obvious résumé mistakes such typos, glaring grammatical errors, incorrect contact information, etc. have long been revised out of our final product. You have even included keywords and highlighted your soft skills.

So why are you still not getting hired?

There are many small, often-overlooked errors that stand out to hiring managers, who routinely go through hundreds of résumés in one sitting. We’ve compiled a list of these insidious little oversights that may be keeping you from landing the job you deserve.

1. Abbreviations

Your résumé is a showcase of your professional writing skills, and should be considered a formal business document. While you may think you are avoiding long sentences and saving valuable space by using shortcuts like “etc.,” “asst.,” and “assoc.,” you are in fact conveying laziness and a lack of professionalism to your potential employers. So leave the abbreviations for your notes, and remove them from your résumé.

2. Generic Lines and Language

To include an objective statement, or not to include an objective statement? For that is the question that everyone seems to be debating. The consensus from most hiring managers, however, is that it simply isn’t necessary when the purpose of your résumé is clear and focused. Furthermore, everyone knows you will provide references upon request. You don’t need to include this in your résumé. Using generic, unnecessary language simply because everyone else is doing so will only distract from your more meaningful content, and take up valuable space on your résumé.

3. Be Consistent in Your Formatting

One of the most insidious résumé mistakes is not your writing, but your formatting. It doesn’t matter what you bold, so long as you bold it consistently. If you are bolding your job titles, bold all of your job titles. If you are italicizing your place of work, italicize all of your places of work. Take the extra time to ensure that your spacing is even and consistent. Your hiring managers will thank you. Maybe not verbally, but you get the idea.

4. Avoid Periods if You’re Not Writing Complete Sentences

If your bullet points are short statements and not complete sentences, do not end them with a period. Period.


  • At the end of each quarter, I assist the department director in writing, formatting, and presenting the quarterly report. [PERIOD]
  • Assisted in the writing, formatting, and presentation of quarterly reports [NO PERIOD]

Notice the difference? Good. Please do not commit this cardinal sin of résumé writing again.

5. Watch Your Tenses

This seems simple, but you may be surprised at how often you find yourself committing this seemingly-small grammatical mistake. Here’s a test – go through your most recent résumé and see how often your verbs for past positions are in the present tense, for example “managing the office budget” versus “managed the office budget” (and, while your at it, check for any punctuation mistakes like those mentioned above). If all of your tenses are completely correct, congratulations! You are a résumé writing rock star! If not, now is a great time to address those little quirks.

A second, and equally important grammatical consideration is consistency in your subject verb agreement and your past and present tenses. For example, if you begin a sentence in the past tense, make sure all of your subsequent verbs are also in the past tense. The same goes for the present tense.

But enough of grammar school! Your résumé is one of the most powerful tools you have in your job search. We hope these tips will help you write a strong, error-free résumé that engages and impresses your future supervisors.

5 Tips to Show Your Interviewer That You ‘Fit’

We’ve all had that amazing interview for that perfect job. You wait and wait for the acceptance email only to be told, “you’re not the right fit.”

What happened?

While your résumé, credentials, and interview skills are all essential to landing the job, effectively standing out from other qualified applicants often boils down to “fit.” There are many nuances that define “fit” across roles and industries, but there are some steps you can take to nail down this elusive quality in your next interview.

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5 Résumé Hacks to Get the Interview

No one enjoys writing a résumé, but they are a necessary component of every job hunt. Make the most of the time you spend revising and editing your résumé by making smart, strategic decisions that allow you to hack the job search process. We’ve compiled a few of the best résumé hacks to make your application stand out.

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