Do you feel like the lines of communication are less clear over the phone than they are in person? You’re not alone. Without body language and other visual cues, making sure you’re explaining your technical experience in an effective, easy to understand way can be challenging. Whether you have an upcoming phone interview or just want to prepare yourself before starting your job search, these six tips will help you effectively communicate your tech experience during the phone interview.
1. Give Your Experience Context: When you frame your skills and expertise through a story, you’re communicating them more effectively. Give your experience context by shaping it into an easy to follow story about a specific project or two where you’ve applied several different types of skills.
2. Address Your Experience in Every Stage of the Development Life Cycle: During the phone interview, they’re probably trying to gage your experience across the board. This includes soft skills as well as technical skills, but in many cases it’s also helpful to address your experience in every stage of the development life cycle. This will give interviewers a clear picture of your foundation, which you can build on at their company.
3. Start With the Big Picture, Then Go Into Details: A great way into describing a specific project is by starting with the big picture. Describe the problem you were trying to solve, then walk them through the architecture, the tools you chose (if you chose) and why, and help them understand what you contributed by calling attention to your strengths.
4. Express the Logic Behind Your Decisions: Don’t just talk about the problems you solved, express the logic behind your decisions! This gives the interviewer insight into your thought process. Also, you can give them better insight into your work process. Share a few examples of when you took initiative to get things done so the interviewer knows what you’re capable of as an individual while also going into the collaborative efforts or a few examples of how you worked with team members while solving the problem so they understand how you engage with others in a professional environment. If it’s all “we” or all “I”, you might set off some alarm bells. A blend of both is best.
5. Express Your Enthusiasm: So many employers are looking for passionate technical employees so, when you’re on the phone, make sure your enthusiasm for what you do comes across! Even smiling when you’re discussing the technology you’re currently learning or a project you’re really proud of completing will come across on the phone, an interviewer can literally hear the difference and this could make all the difference in getting you to the next step in the interview process.
6. Simplify When and Where You Can: You don’t necessarily know the technical experience of the person interviewing you over the phone and, while you can tell when someone is confused or not following during an in person interview, it’s harder to gage over the phone. The best way to combat these issues is to simplify, simplify, simplify. Figure out before the phone interview how you want to describe the projects you’ve worked on and make them as simple as possible, assuming your audience has no technical experience. You can always elevate the conversation when your interviewer expresses understanding of the subject or go into more details when asked for them.
With these six tips, you can effectively communicate your technical experience during the phone interview. Plus, they might help during the next steps in the interview process too! You’re not saying what the interviewer wants to hear but instead framing your experience in a way that is compelling, easier to understand, and easy to expand upon if needed. Good luck in your next interview!