Well, It's been a bit since I conducted phone interviews, but I had to do some more today.
I know a lot of people out of work right now and thought they might benefit from what I found myself doing in these phone interviews (most of them apply to face-to-face interviews as well):
1. It's true - phone interviews are to screen people out. So, don't give the interviewer any ammunition. Give as little information as required so that you get called in for a face-to-face interview. Keep in mind the entertainers credo: always leave the audience in a way where they want more.
2. Keep your replies brief - I had a few too many times when I asked a question and wanted a short reply and the person talked on and on, much of the talking off subject! I always try to keep in mind what John Lucht says in his book "Rites of Passage:" when in an interview, try to keep your response to 2 minutes or less and end with a variation of "I hope that answers your question, or is there something else you'd like to know?"
3. Be a good listener: I was surprised at how some people heard my question and went off onto another subject without answering my question. Maybe it was because they didn't know the answer or because they weren't listening to the question closely, but it didn't reflect well on them.
4. Show some initiative: I had one interviewee who asked if they could send me a paper they wrote on a subject I asked about. It was a clever way to get my email address to follow-up. Another interviewee said they had researched the group I am in, so he knew what we do. These all demonstrate someone with initiative, a very valuable trait for us interviewers to find in someone.
5. Close the conversation with a question: Some people just said thanks and they hoped to hear from me again. That's nice. However, one asked when he would hear from me again and asked to be kept in the loop while waiting.
Another person, with even more initiative, asked when we would make the decision and who else he would need to talk to before the decision was made. He mentioned that he needed to know because he had other opportunities he was holding off. It showed he was interested. For someone who might be a strong candidate, this might give them an indication of how well they did because it might cause the interviewer to try to "sell" the position. It might also make the interviewer realize that they need to make a decision before the candidate takes another position.