Mastering The Phone Interview
In today’s digital world where everything is virtually possible, phone and video interviews are becoming more and more common. Most initial interviews are conducted via phone and there are even companies who will conduct all interviews through the phone. Other companies will use phone interviews as a pre-screening before deciding to invite candidates in for a face-to-face interview, especially if they need to pay to have a person fly out to the company. Phone interviews save a company time/money and are expected to be used for the foreseeable future.
Scheduled/Unscheduled Phone Interviews
Most phone interviews are scheduled with plenty of notice for you to prepare. Scheduled phone interviews will usually be arranged through email or your LinkedIn; although, they may be scheduled through the phone so always answer professionally when job hunting. Sometimes recruiters will surprise you by calling you unexpectedly to catch you off guard. Again, be prepared and always answer professionally. If you are not prepared to interview on the spot, it is perfectly acceptable to schedule the interview at a later time in the near future.
Research The Company
It is fully expected that every potential candidate has a basic understanding of what the company does and can speak intelligently about it. The question of “what do you know about our company” will rear its head in one form or another, so BE PREPARED!!! One advantage of a phone interview versus face-to-face is that you can have a cheat sheet ready that lists key facts and figured to impress the interviewer. Mentioning something new and innovative about the company that was recently announced is good practice if possible.
Have Your Resume And The Job Description Available
Ensure you have a copy of your resume printed out or loaded up on your computer since the interviewer may ask questions specific to what you have listed in your resume. You don’t want to fumble around looking for it during the interview. Also, have the job description pulled up so you can speak directly on how exactly you’ve performed and excelled for the specific job requirements.
Have A Quiet Area Designated
Ensure that you have an area designated in your home that is quiet and free from distractions. If you have children or animals, you need to separate them from your area to not be disturbing. Any loud background noises will be an interruption to the interview and undermine your professionalism, which will reduce your chances to move forward.
Treat The Phone Interview As If It’s Face-To-Face
Just as the area you select needs to be free from distractions, don’t make the mistake of being too comfortable with the interviewer since you are speaking from your home turf. Treat the interview as if you were sitting across the desk from the person interviewing you. It may help your performance if you dress professionally versus wearing lounging sweat pants and a T-shirt. Also, some phone interviews will be conducted via video teleconferencing so you may have dress in business attire regardless.
Follow-up After The Interview
Send an email thank you letter immediately after the interview. Don’t just say a generic “thank you” though. You should make it a point of reiterating the value that you could bring to the company. Mention something that was discussed during the interview that seemed important to show the interviewer that you were listening and engaged.
Phone interviews are becoming more and more common as technology continues to proliferate and employers seek ways to save time and money. Take the necessary time to prepare for the phone interview as if it was a face-to-face interview. Have a designed area free from distractions and your resume along with the job description ready. Finally, make sure you immediately follow-up after the interview.