1) Email interview questions in advance. Interviewees are generally willing to help you get the information you want. Otherwise they wouldn’t have agreed to do the interview in the first place. So if you send the questions earlier, they would know what sort of information you’re looking for and assist you accordingly.
2) Use a landline. Let’s face it, not all mobile lines are crystal clear despite the advancement in technology these days.
Bad coverage could leave you and your interviewee irritated and frustrated because you can’t hear each other clearly. Worst still if the mobile phone battery dies halfway through the interview. Remember to always use a landline.
3) Keep reference materials nearby. All brochures, articles and information pertaining to the interview has to be within reach. If the interview leads to a point where the interviewee makes reference to previous articles, or if you need to reconfirm something, then it would be easy to just reach out and check your facts.
4) Turn off all music and television. Television, radio and even mobile phones can be a distraction expecially when you are relying on a phone for important information. If possible, you need to be in a place with pin drop silence while conducting the interview.
If you have a baby or toddler around, ensure they do not cause any distraction during the interview. You could lock yourself in a room, but please ensure your other half is around or hire a babysitter.
The other alternative is to wait for your kid to sleep. But what if they start crying while you’re half way through the interview? Excusing yourself to attend to your kid won’t give a good impression to the interviewee, who most probably would think you’re incapable of dividing your work and your personal life. The best is to get someone around in case your kid decides to throw a tantrum.
5) No food and drinks. Eating and drinking is a big no-no in any interview, but more so for a phone interview. This is because the interviewee can’t see you physically. So if there’s a pause in the conversation because you’re taking a sip of iced lemon tea, or you’re busy wiping up spilled coffee, the interviewee might think there’s a lull or you’re not interested in the conversation. And it could kill the flow of the interview.
6) Call on time. The interviewee would have set aside time in their busy schedules to answer your questions. So the least you could do is to respect that and call on time.
If the interviewee is in another time zone, it is extremely important to ensure you’re calling at the right time, which is usually the local time where the interviewee is. If you’re unsure of the time difference, websites like The World Clock can be extremely useful.