Tips for phone-based interviews

Many individuals who apply for finance jobs find themselves interviewing for these positions in-person. Many others, recently, have found themselves interviewing for positions via Skype or other videoconferencing applications. There's another way that you may find yourself interviewing for a new job, however: over the phone. 

Phone interviews may happen because an individual lives far away from the office they're applying to work at, because the hiring manager wants to screen applicants before bringing them in for proper interviews or for any other number of reasons. So you need to be sure to take them just as seriously as you do any other step of the application process. Talking on the phone is often informal, but interviewing that way is slightly different. With these tips, you should be able to strike the perfect balance. 

1. Eliminate all distractions
When you're interviewing for a job over the phone, it'll be much easier to get distracted than it would be interviewing in-person. You might find yourself absent-mindedly reading an email, or looking at a text message, or gazing out the window, when you should instead be listening to the person on the other end of the phone. So if you ever get a call from a hiring manager, turn off the electronics, close the blinds, and ensure your focus: nothing will make the interviewer lose more interest in you than if they catch you zoning out. 

2. Use a land-line, if you can
On that note, one of the most important traits to display when applying for finance positions like wealth management jobs is professionalism. Being professional shows that you're trustworthy, and being trustworthy indicates that you can be put in charge of someone else's money. What isn't professional, however, is being unable to maintain a clean phone connection. Your interviewer will be quite annoyed if they have to call you over and over because your service is bad, or because you're taking the call from a noisy environment. 

3. Create a work-station to take the call from
When you're interviewing for a job in-person, you're likely to have a number of documents directly in front of you, such as your resume, your cover letter or information about the company you're applying to. During a phone interview, you should give yourself the same advantage. You don't want to be stuttering or coming up blank when your interviewer brings up a specific point on your resume. By having all pertinent documents at your side at all times, you can be sure that you'll be prepared to answer any question. Don't let the informal nature of phone conversations allow you to let your guard down – you need to prepare for a phone-interview as thoroughly as you would for one in an office setting. 

4. Be even more inquisitive than you would be in a face-to-face interview
When you apply for a job and interview at the office, you learn a lot about that company simply via context. You're able to see the way people dress, the way the office is laid out, the way people communicate, the way the business adorns its walls, and many other details both important or minor. You do not receive that luxury when you interview for a job over the phone. So don't be afraid to ask more questions than you would usually, about corporate culture, dress codes or any other office-specific standards. This will allow you to make up for the insights you miss out on when interviewing over the phone – and will probably impress the hiring manager at hand, too.