Getting Through the Job Phone Interview
Congratulations! After searching and applying to a myriad of openings, you finally were selected for a phone interview with the perfect company. While you want to keep the process moving forward, a telephone interview in some ways is more challenging than a face-to-face interview. It will be more difficult to establish a personal connection, and you are not visually able to read any “feedback” from your comments. Therefore, your planning is very important.
The goal of a telephone interview is to either interest the employer enough that they want to have a face-to-face meeting, or to convince them to hire you without the need for a personal interview. You are in this interview to win! Here are some simple tips you can use to make sure that you WOW the hiring manager and keep the hiring process moving forward.
Before the Phone Interview:
• Review the company’s website to understand their mission, products, and goals.
• Select a comfortable place with no noise or distractions where you can accept the call.
• Prepare and print out a list of your greatest technical and personal accomplishments.
• Have them available and be ready to inject them at the proper time during the conversation.
• Prepare and print a list of at least 3 questions that are important to you, written down ready to ask. (You don’t have to ask all of them, but you may find that if you prepare a smaller number, and you’ll get them all answered earlier in the conversation.)
At the Phone Interview Time:
• Hearing clearly and making certain that you are heard and understood are very important.
o Sometime very early in the call, ask: “Can you hear me clearly?” If you are having trouble hearing them, let them know and ask them to speak a bit louder.
• Answer the questions to the best of your ability without being overly “wordy.” Use examples of your successes to answer the questions.
• If you have not used a specific tool/technology, or been involved in that type of work: say something like: ”no, I have not done exactly that, or used that exact technology…however once I was faced with a technology/situation that I did not know much about , and here is how I went about solving the problem.”
• If they ask you about your compensation requirement, simply say: “Your company has a strong reputation, I am sure that the compensation package you would offer would be fair and competitive in the marketplace.”
• As the interview is winding down or you are at the end of the stated time they will be spending with you, or they ask you if you have questions, start on your list of questions, but just ask the few that are most important to you.
o End the interview by and briefly reviewing your qualifications. Ask them whether they feel you would be a good fit for their needs. If they state, yes, great, ask them for the next step.
o However, if you sense any hesitation on their part: Ask them if there some part of your background that they are uncomfortable with. If they bring it out in the open do your best to correct their misunderstanding or show them that you are capable of learning quickly.
After the Phone Interview:
• Send a follow up thank you note to the person you just spoke with thanking them for their time and again reiterating why you would be a great fit for the opening.
While there’s no magic formula to do well in the phone interview, if you can apply these tips it can only help move the interview process forward.
Share your thoughts on our tips in the comments below, and let us know what other things have worked for you in the phone interview process.