A telephone job interview may seem easy and relatively effortless, at first blush. After all, you don’t have to wear uncomfortable heels or a stuffy suit, or stress out over getting caught in traffic or missing your expressway exit.
But, never underestimate the power of the phone interview – or the need to prepare for it. In many cases, it’s the first step in being considered for a position. While a number of candidates may reach this point, only a select few will move on to personal meetings with their prospective employer.
If you’re serious about landing a position, you need to put just as much effort into a phone interview as you would into a face-to-face meeting.
- Research the company and the position. Thoroughly review the job description or posting and make a list of how your qualifications match hiring criteria. Have your talking points, as well as your resume and the posting, in front of you during the call.
- Practice. Ask a trusted friend or relative to conduct a mock interview with you, and record it so you can hear how you sound over the phone. You’ll be able to detect your hesitations, pauses, “um’s” and “okay’s” so you can work on improving your delivery.
- Use a land line if available. This will eliminate any possibility of a poor cell signal. Turn off accessories such as call waiting or your answering machine, to avoid any distractions during your interview.
- Give yourself time. For instance, don’t schedule your phone interview during your daily 30-minute lunch break. The last thing you want to do is cut off an interviewer due to time constraints. Be ready five minutes early. This will give you more peace of mind. Some hiring managers purposely call a few minutes ahead of schedule as a tactic to gauge your preparedness and punctuality.
- No pets or kids allowed. Make other arrangements for these beloved family members during your phone interview.
During your interview be sure to focus, listen and concentrate. And smile. Even though you cannot be seen, this will give you positive energy and enthusiasm.
Have your own list of questions ready. Like a personal interview, this is a two-way dialogue to determine whether a position is a good fit for you. You have every right – in fact, it’s a good strategic decision – to ask questions. In addition to providing information that may assist you in your job search decision, this further emphasizes your interest in and knowledge of the job.
After your phone interview, thank the person(s) with whom you’ve been talking – and send a follow-up note afterwards.
Working with a career coach can be a valuable asset as you plan and execute your job search, including the interview process. To learn more, read our related posts or contact the experts at Alternative Staffing today.